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March is Endometriosis Awareness Month- Feeling the Pain
a blog by Fran Meadows, March 2, 2013
March is Endometriosis Awareness month. Knowledge is power and educating yourself on women’s health is something doctors should encourage. Being your own health advocate and getting all of the answers can be a job in itself but it helps you to feel confident that you've been accurately diagnosed rather than feeling confused and doubtful. It will make decisions easier even though they can be scary and you will be confident that the treatments recommended are the best option for you.
More and more research has been done to determine if diagnosing and treating endometriosis early on will help with the quality of life of sufferers while preserving their fertility for the future. Endometriosis is often misdiagnosed. Endometriosis is known as the “unknown illness”, it affects over six million women. Endometriosis is the development of uterine-lining tissue outside the uterus. Most women who have been diagnosed with endometriosis find that it can affect their fertility later on in life. Endometriosis is a common gynecological diagnosis and a cause of female infertility. Most cases are diagnosed between the ages of 25 to 35. If you are experiencing pain and heavy periods monthly tell your doctor. Detecting and treating endometriosis early can help with the future of your fertility.
From the first day of your very first menstrual cycle, automatically you grow up believing that this is the way you are supposed to feel. Some young girls experience pain, heavy bleeding for longer than seven days and cannot function during this time and find that it affects their everyday life. Then when they are in their 20’s, they still think that this is the way they are supposed to feel. Sometimes we choose to ignore symptoms and choose not to tell our doctors. This is why it is important to continue raising awareness and educating the public.
Symptoms of Endometriosis
The most common symptom of endometriosis is pain. Other symptoms might include:
- Pelvic or low back pain that may occur at any time during the menstrual cycle
- Lower abdomen pain before and during menstruation
- Painful periods
- Cramps for a week or two before menstruation and during menstruation; cramps may be mild to severe
- Pain with sexual intercourse; during or following
- Bowel movement pain
Symptoms, treatments and outcomes might vary due to individual. While most women will relate if they have endometriosis, like anything else you should not compare your symptoms, diagnosis and treatment your situation is unique. This will help you stay on track other than thinking that all outcomes are the same.
In other cases there may be no symptoms. Some women might experience no pain at all, while some women might have severe pain.
Doctors might prescribe birth control pills to help to prevent or slow down the development of the endometriosis. This sometimes masks the endometriosis. Lupron is also sometimes prescribed. It suppresses hormone production and is sometimes used to treat symptoms. Some patients might need pain killers depending on the severity of the pain. Endometriosis is a long lasting illness and in some severe cases your doctor will recommend surgery. Laparoscopy is also a plan of action in some more severe cases, which removes the endometrial cells with a few small incisions. This does not remove it forever and symptoms can reoccur which might lead to more surgeries.
Join other women during Endometriosis Awareness Month by getting the facts and continue to raise awareness for an illness that millions of women live with it every day.
Below are comments from women, who are living with endometriosis, you might be able to relate and know you’re not alone!
“During that time of the month I can’t eat, sleep, walk, go to work or even function – the pain is so excruciating that many think every month I am faking the pain. Until you’ve walked in someone’s shoes you cannot imagine how pain feels.” ~ Janet
“Stage IV endometriosis has taken my tubes and caused me more pain than I could've ever imagined. Wreaked havoc on my intestines. I have been through IVF and FET; left me with no baby and lots of tears. Now we need to decide what to do with our last embryo. My happy ending may not be the happy ending you think it should be. Maybe there’s another happy ending for me.” ~ Melanie
“Not only have I been diagnosed with endometriosis at an early age, but now it is the cause of my infertility. There are no words for the pain I am feeling.” ~ Anna Lynne
“Endometriosis is frequently misdiagnosed and it can take many years for a firm diagnosis to be achieved and treatment to be secured. In the meantime, that long wait can cause untold damage, not only physically, as in my case, but mentally and emotionally too. Every few weeks I would be plagued with horrific period pains. This pain renders me speechless, doubled over and often fainting. It was embarrassing and terrifying and I really didn't want to be around people when that happened.” ~ Sarah Anne