What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a painful disorder that is caused when the endometrium, a tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus, begins to grow outside of the uterus. This abnormal growth of the endometrium affects the fallopian tubes, the ovaries, and the tissue around the pelvis.Although it has been displaced, the endometrial tissue acts the same way that it normally would. Every month during the menstrual cycle, it breaks down and bleeds. Unfortunately, since there is no way for the displaced tissue to leave the body, it gets trapped.
Symptoms of endometriosis include:
- Painful Periods. You can experience extreme pelvic pain and cramping in the days leading up to your period and in the days following it. You may also have extreme lower back and severe abdominal pain.
- Pain Resulting from Intercourse. Endometriosis may produce pain during and after sexual intercourse.
- Excessive Bleeding. You may have excessive bleeding between and during your periods.
- Infertility. There is a strong link between endometriosis and infertility. In fact, many women are diagnosed with endometriosis because they are looking for fertility treatments.
When endometriosis affects the ovaries, painful cysts can develop. In some instances, the tissue surrounding the affected area becomes irritated, scar tissue is created, and abnormal fiber bands or abnormal bands of fibrous tissue develop, causing organs and tissues in the pelvis to stick together.
With endometriosis, the severity of the pain you experience does not necessarily correlate with the severity of your condition. You could have very severe or advanced endometriosis and have very little pain. Conversely, you could have mild endometriosis and be experiencing severe pain.
Others symptoms will include things like diarrhea, fatigue, vomiting, nausea, and constipation. These symptoms will intensify during your menstrual period.
Living with Endometriosis
We could give a long list of symptoms and causes for endometriosis and still not come close to fully explaining what it is like to live with this disease. You know firsthand how endometriosis affects every aspect of your life.
It affects the way that you interact with your family, it affects your career, it affects your ability to have a family, it affects your sex life, and it affects your ability to get pleasure from very basic things.
Endometriosis has been compared to having hundreds of unbelievably painful blisters inside your pelvis. The pain is horrific.
For some, the pain lasts just a few days during their periods. In the worst-case scenario, women suffering from endometriosis have pain 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
As you have seen firsthand, one of the most challenging things about having endometriosis is that most days, on the outside, you look fine. When your friends and family look at you, they see someone who is young, vibrant, and who should be happy. But internally you are dealing with excruciating pain. Unfortunately, the difference between how you look and how you feel can cause well-meaning friends and family members to question how severe your pain is.
Endometriosis during Teenage Years
Endometriosis can affect girls in their teenage years. Many young women begin to experience endometriosis when they are in junior high school. The pain that they are enduring is vastly different than what their classmates experience during menstruation.
It is not uncommon for junior high and high school aged girls dealing with endometriosis to miss multiple days of school each month because of the intense pain they experience. The level of pain that these young women face is worse than what some people experience after a major surgery.
What makes the situation worse is that medical professionals who do not thoroughly understand the disease also lack awareness about it. So they misdiagnose patients, leading to them having a lack of appropriate treatment for the pain. Because of misdiagnosis on the part of medical professionals, the parents of some teenage girls have been led to believe that the pain their daughters are experiencing is the result of a psychological issue and not a physical one.
Thus, these young women are forced to live like prisoners in their own body. Their bodies torture them in front of their friends and family, but since the family does not fully understand their situation, they are not effectively helping their daughters.
The Emotional Toll of Endometriosis Pain
The physical pain of endometriosis quickly starts to affect them emotionally. Constant pain makes you feel tired and weak. Activities like going to school, going to work, hanging out with friends, and caring for the family become almost unbearable.
Dealing with endometriosis pain is not like having a cold where you take a sick day, pop a couple of pills, and you’re better the next day. For many women, the pain is constant. After a while, you may start to feel like you are complaining too much because it hurts for you to do basic things.
It is not uncommon for women dealing with endometriosis to feel isolated. It can be emotionally devastating to have those closest to you treat you like you’re lazy or useless because you are not doing what they think you can, even though you are giving your best.
You may be able to put on a brave face for a few days, but as you have experienced, there are days when the pain is so bad you just break down and cry.
What We Can Do
Over the years, we have had the privilege of working with and helping many endometriosis sufferers. We understand the medical and clinical side of the disease. However, we have spoken to enough sufferers of endometriosis to have a firm grasp of the emotional toll this disease takes.
We know that the pain you experience is unique from what our other clients experience. For this reason, we do not try to create a one-size-fits-all pain management program. Instead, we start by listening to you. We want to hear from you first hands how endometriosis has affected you.
Once we’ve gathered all the information together, then we will start to work with you to create a short term and a long-term treatment plan. When you walk out of the initial consultation, you will know what our plan is and how we are going to help you.
Endometriosis is a horrific condition. We know that the pain you have been experiencing is something that non-sufferers just cannot fathom. We want to help you. We want you to recover your quality of life and start living pain-free.