Thanks for checking in 🙂
Whether you’re sitting there asking yourself “what is Endometriosis anyway?”, wondering if you have it, or you’ve just come by to brush-up on some Endo facts – get the tea ready, cause I got you 😉
First of all, it’s an annoyingly long word, (pronounced en-doh-mee-tree-oh-sis) so I’m just going to refer to it as “Endo” in most of my future posts.
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My mum first suspected I might have Endo shortly after my first period (at 13), and I knew it was pretty much a definite by 15.
It runs through both sides of my family so I was lucky I was surrounded by so many people who knew the warning signs well.
Read more on my story below
Over the course of my lady-life, I’ve been to several doctors/specialists/hospitals – the works.
So you’d think when people ask me about it, I’d be able to explain exactly what it is and how it affects the body. Well, you’d be wrong.
The fact is, NO ONE even knows what Endo really is and everyone reacts completely differently to it.
While that may not bring you a whole lot of comfort, here’s what we DO know for sure:
- We know Endo is tissue similar to the endometrium, (the lining inside the uterus), (keyword: similar)(1)
- We know this tissue can fuse other organs together(3)
- This is caused by the fact that during a period, when normal endometrium tissue sheds from inside the uterus, it has an exit. Endometriosis, on the other hand, has no exit. With the tissue left to bleed internally, it can then turn into scar tissue which may permanently bind together.
- We know that Endometriosis can spread to other organs(6), in rare cases – as far as the lungs(7)
- We know surgery and imaging such as ultrasounds are the only ways to get an official endometriosis diagnosis. Yet, we also know imaging rarely shows adhesions(2)
- We know it’s around a 10-year wait, (in Australia) before most women get their diagnosis, (and most likely first endometriosis surgery or ‘laparoscopy’)(2)
- We also have no idea what the cause is, but we know genetics and family history play a major role(1)(3)
- We know it affects everyone differently, and some women don’t show any symptoms at all
Side note: if you are one of these women, please get in touch – so I can figure out what the hell I’ve been doing wrong all my life
- We know some of the most common symptoms are:
- [Really] Painful periods(3)
- Pain with sex(3)
- Pain and cramps after sex
- Pelvic pain(3)
- Ovulation pain(3)
- Lower back pain (may also spread down the thighs) (3)
- Bowel and/or bladder symptoms(3)
- Fertility issues(3)
- Nausea and lethargy(3)
- PMS symptoms (3)
- Heavy or irregular periods and bleeding episodes(1)
- We know there is NO KNOWN CURE for the disease (despite what some tea companies will tell you – don’t get me started on this nonsense)
- We know surgery and hormonal treatments may help some Queens, while other’s find combining these with natural interventions work best(3)
- We know that women with Endo are also at risk of developing other chronic illnesses and conditions.
- Various types of cancers(4)
- Autoimmune diseases (such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, coeliac disease(4), Lupus and multiple sclerosis(8)),
- Allergies and asthma(4)
- Uterine fibroids(8)
- Ovarian Cysts(8)
- We know the two main problems Endo cause are pain and infertility(1).
- Even less talked about, are the negative impacts it can have on relationships, mental health, finances, as well as life opportunities/commitments such as education and employment(5).
Though it might all sound scary, it is comforting to know that Endometriosis can be managed.
As I mentioned before, some women manage their symptoms with diet, exercise and holistic treatments. Other women find hormonal treatments and medical interventions work best.
I personally prefer to take natural remedies, (which I’ve listed for you in My Remedies) but I’ve also learnt to accept that there is a certain level of unpredictability with this disease that means it’s simply not always possible.
If you have an iPhone, you can find an Endometriosis symptoms checklist, and more information on the Flutter Period Tracker App, which is tailored for Endometriosis (sorry Android users).
Each person and body functions differently to the next and requires a treatment plan to suit.
It may take some time to find what works best for you and your body.
It’s so important that you don’t give up on yourself, (or your dodgy uterus) and keep searching for answers – no matter how long it takes.
Over the next year, I’ll be experimenting with different remedies and treatments, both natural and hormonal. I’ll then report everything back to you, in the hopes you might find something that helps you too.
Sending love, hugs and pain free days ❤
P.S. What was the most interesting thing YOU learned about Endo? Was there anything that surprised you? Let me know in the comments below 🙂
1. Endometriosis Australia. 2018. About Endometriosis. Available at: https://www.endometriosisaustralia.org/about-endometriosis. [Accessed 28 April 2019]
2. British Journal Of General Practice. 2007. Management of endometriosis in general practice: the pathway to diagnosis. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2078174/. [Accessed 28 April 2019]
3. Victoria State Government Better Health Channel. 2018. Endometriosis. Available at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ConditionsAndTreatments/endometriosis. [Accessed 28 April 2019]
4. Endomertiosis.Org. Endometriosis and co-morbidities. Available at: http://endometriosis.org/news/research/endometriosis-and-comorbidities/. [Accessed 28 April 2019]
5. Bio Med Central Women’s Health. 2014. Impact of endometriosis on women’s lives: a qualitative study. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4287196/. [Accessed 28 April 2019]
6. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Endometriosis. Available at: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/endometriosis. [Accessed 28 April 2019]
7. Journal Of The Society Of Laparoendoscopic Surgery. 2012. Bilateral Thoracic Endometriosis Affecting the Lung and Diaphragm. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3407434/. [Accessed 28 April 2019]
8. Endometriosis News. Endometriosis-Related Conditions. Available at: https://endometriosisnews.com/endometriosis-related-diseases/. [Accessed 28 April 2019
a special shoutout goes to Madison Inouye, owner of @mdsn.design for her talents! (She provided the photo of the Cactus for free and her work is so inspiring!)