I thought every woman experienced this. Woman don’t really talk about their menstrual cramp, even to their sisters. So whenever we slip out about those pains in our conversation, we girls would nod and gaze with sympathy. “I feel you too.”
Once at 18, I went to a mall with my friends to spend our weekend together. I had not been following my menstrual cycle, so it came unexpectedly in the middle of our shopping day. The pain escalated quickly, and I had a strong urge to vomit. Luckily, we manage to go to the toilet in time for me to throw up.
I ended up going home early that day, which made me feel bad. But my friends, were cool about it. Since then, I have always kept track of my cycle. And on the first day of my cycle I never go out – even to my classes, unless it is a final exam or quiz day. Not that the second day is any better either, what with the heavy discharge.
Still, despite all the symptoms, I never suspected that there was something wrong with me – that I should not have suffered that kind of pain, until I went for a checkup years later. By then pain killer wasn’t really helping me endure my pelvic pain-headache-bloating-uncomfortable feeling anymore.
I am 21 years old now and my gynecologist has diagnosed me with endometriosis, which I had never heard of before. I am currently on the pill to regulate my estrogen for the next three months.
According to endometriosis.ca, Endometriosis is a condition in which the endometrium tissue, which is similar to the lining inside the uterus, is found outside the uterus, where it induces a chronic inflammatory reaction that may result in scar tissue. Endometriosis affects an estimated 1 in 10 women during their reproductive years.
The symptoms of endometriosis include painful periods, painful ovulation, pain during or after sexual intercourse, heavy bleeding, chronic pelvic pain, fatigue, and infertility, and can impact on general physical, mental, and social wellbeing.
It is estimated that 30 to 40 percent women with endometriosis may not be able to have children. Studies indicate that women with minimal–mild endometriosis take longer to conceive and are less likely to conceive than women in general. Having endometriosis does not automatically mean that you will never have children. Rather, it means that you may have more problems in getting pregnant.
Many women with endometriosis have children without difficulty, and many others become pregnant eventually – though it may take time, and may require the help of surgery or assisted reproductive technologies or both.
However, a general lack of awareness by both women and health care providers, due to the “normalization” of symptoms, results in a significant delay from when a woman first experiences symptoms until she eventually is diagnosed and treated.
I feel bad to myself. I should’ve listened to my body in the first place. If you have a friend or sister, or anybody around you who might complain of those symptoms, please personally talk about it with her and ask her to go to the gynecologist. It would be nice to have someone who reminds them that what they have is not normal and they need treatment.
Or, if you are the one who have endometriosis symptoms, please go to a doctor to get medical help. Get it treated before it gets worse and leads to other conditions. But remember, endometriosis does not make you are less a woman. All the difficulties and pain caused by this condition that affects your life may, indeed, be a blessing in disguise.
Rukhshah Giani is a weird human being who love books, movies, and strolling around the cities. Currently juggling with internship and her final year to get communication degree.