March is National Endometriosis Awareness month and after personally experiencing this condition I can tell you the pain and confusion with endometriosis is like no other. Pain and swelling gripping your pelvic region and the confusion of having no idea how to help yourself. It really leaves you wondering is it ever going to get better? and the worst part is wondering if this is going to affect my chances of having a baby...
Endometriosis affects over 700,000 women, roughly 1 in 10 women in Australia. Such a huge number yet still the treatment options just don't seem to be hitting the mark. It's a condition where the tissue similar to that which lines the uterus grows outside of the uterus. So essentially during a period when that lining is shed this outside tissue also bleeds causing pain, swelling, scars and cysts etc. It can cause the organs to fuse together and become stuck and the most worrying is the potential damage to the Fallopian tubes and the difficulties falling pregnant that some women can encounter.
From my personal journey the pain at random times of the month leaving you feeling like there is a sharp knife digging into your insides where you are just desperate for someone to help you. The swelling that leave's me feeling bloated, like I can't exercise because my stomach is so swollen my core is inhibited and the pressure on my bladder (that's where my endometriosis was) is intense. Then there is the confusion of knowing that although you tried surgery, no caffeine, reducing your sugar, exercising, herbs, acupuncture and general medications nothing seems to be helping. Worst of all no one seems to know how to help. It's kinda like a rollercoaster ride you know you'll be on for quite a number of years. When I was diagnosed I had a moderate level of endometriosis, I often think "I wonder what it would be like now if it hadn't been picked up when it was". I'm so grateful I found out when I did.
This March I wanted to bring to light this topic so others can have the necessary conversations with their doctors to find some answers. Unfortunately the diagnosis is through a laparoscopy which is invasive and the recovery is tough but definitely worth it. Knowledge is always power. It allows the conversations to continue to find treatment options for you.
I also came across this amazing article outlining some myths around endometriosis from Grace Private, it's well worth the read: 7 endometriosis myths exposed.
I'm Melanie, a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist.
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