Well happy March and happy endometriosis awareness month, I didn’t know we had a whole month. It’s kind of awesome because I truly don’t believe many people understand what endometriosis is. Even doctors are skeptical to diagnose someone with it because it’s extremely problematic in many cases because you tell them you have pain with your period and they just assume it’s cramps.
Endometriosis is described as a chronic disease when the lining of your uterus grows outside of your uterus rather than inside. Endometriosis can have different stages; which ultimately means endometrial tissue can grow in many different places and sizes. Endometriosis can also be linked with ovarian cysts as sometimes when ovarian cysts do not go away on their own endometrial implants form leaving you with extreme pain.
Ovarian cysts are something every woman has and they don’t even know about because they usually go away on their own. The cysts can be seen through ultrasounds and when they don’t go away on their own they either grow and need to be surgically removed or they can rupture, which leads to endometrial implants that attach to your surrounding organs in the pelvic area. It’s hard to determine through an ultrasound whether or not what is seen is a cyst or an endometrial implant, thus having to have surgery too remove either of the above. Cysts can grow to be 3-4 inches in size and probably even larger, which is when a plan of action needs to be taken. When cysts grow larger than normal a doctor would perform a laparoscopy to remove it, the larger they are means they can leak a fluid that causes pain which could also lead to endometrial implants depending on what type of fluid is in the cyst.
Laparoscopy is a surgical procedure where they make small incisions for a camera and for the tools needed to clear out endometriosis or cysts if needed. My laparoscopy’s have all been done through my belly button and right above my pubic bone and more recently through my belly button and in each lower side of my pelvic area. Basically we can just say ovarian cysts in general can be a pain because of the fact that they can vary in many sizes and they can cause many different issues for women. Though obviously in more cases than not women don’t even have to acknowledge that they are there because they do not feel them.
I was so excited to find out that there was an endometriosis awareness month because over the past few months from this blog and when I was writing for a pop culture website so many girls have reached out to me for guidance or just general questions. Knowing that giving them input on what to ask their gynecologist or even questions I can answer about my long journey with endometriosis feels amazing, because I feel like endometriosis is effecting more and more young women every year. It needs to become a disease that is addressed more often because it’s so simple to think that you’re just having a bad period with a lot of pain but in reality you may have endometriosis and during that period endometrial implants are attaching itself to whatever it would like. It’s frightening to think about because you know the option of finding out if you officially have endometriosis is through surgery. But once you find out, you get the correct treatment and you recover hopefully pain free though endometriosis is something you need to live with until you hit menopause.
Lucky for me I was about 15 years old when I first found out about endometriosis. I know, lucky me? But honestly it was “lucky me” because if I had put it off any longer it could have been more severe. I’ve never heard that word in my life before then, and it took four different doctors to even come to the conclusion that endometriosis was what I was dealing with and was causing the pain I had when I would get a period. Getting your period in general sucks because of the bloating, cravings and cramps, especially cramps. But getting your period when you have endometriosis includes all of the above, plus some extra pain because of the tissue lining aka blood, chooses where it would like to take a seat in your pelvis and cause you even more pain. It’s extremely common for endometrial implants to be found on your uterus, ovaries, behind your uterus, on your fallopian tubes, on your bladder, near or on your colon and even your intestines. That’s where the severity of cases come in and you may be diagnosed with a stage of endometriosis. Though depending on your age and if you catch it early enough you’re likely going to be able to treat it. For instance, at 15 years old, I was able to treat it sooner than many other cases. Endometriosis is treated with surgery when needed and a form of birth control (As far as I know). For me, I take my birth control continuously skipping when I would normally get a period and starting a new pack. Ah the thought of not having a period is nice, though sometimes it kind of makes me feel unnatural? As far as I know (confirmed by my doctor) I don’t need to have a period, especially under my circumstances, so I’m not complaining. If you’ve dealt with it for a long period of time without addressing it, it could potentially lead to having a more in depth surgery such as a hysterectomy. A hysterectomy would be performed because it’s over grown to the point where there is no saving your ovaries, uterus or fallopian tubes. I’ve read recently that even if someone who has endometriosis were to have a hysterectomy in hopes to make the pain go away, is likely to still have the pain regardless. Just months ago I was ready to have a hysterectomy hoping the pain would go away, but I’m glad I didn’t plus, my doctor would never agree to do that being that I am so young.
I always debated if I wanted children or not, though I already know it’s going to be difficult for me. Again, which is why I thought about a hysterectomy. When the time comes where I feel as if I want to start a family, my doctor comes into the scenario again and we start a treatment or make a plan on when it’s best for me to try for a child. I think as painful as it may be when the time comes, I could potentially have a baby of my own and the thought of that child actually being mine is special and I need to make sure that I hold that thought close to me as I continue my journey with endometriosis. I need to keep that close to me because if I were to have another issue with endometriosis in the near future I would likely think about not having a child because of what it may feel like, having issues with endometriosis make you question a lot of things in your life, having a child being one of them. Regardless it will be difficult, because the percentages of women with endometriosis either having a miscarriage or just being bed ridden because of the pain is higher than a woman without endometriosis. Especially if a surgery was not performed before getting pregnant to clear out the endometriosis. So as your baby grows your endometriosis doesn’t go away it likely just stretches and grows as the baby does. (Which is not a fact because that is what I’m just assuming would happen if you had endometriosis built up then got pregnant.)
After all of these years, especially the past year I’ve come to terms with this being my life and I’ve got about 25 more years until menopause comes and puts an end to my endometriosis. Until then I’m hopeful because of how well my latest surgery went, let’s make it another 5 years until I have to have another one.
*I want to say do research if you feel as if you have any gynecological issues, but you and I both know that google isn’t always the best help because you automatically diagnose yourself and freak yourself out. Been there, done that. So if you have any questions I would just ask your gynecologist, they are there for you to speak with them about any questions or concerns that you may have.