Endo comes in various stages, from I to IV and can be just as debilitating in the lowest stage as in the highest. For a lot of us girls, we think that the pain we regularly face is just part of the joys of being a girl and we have to grin and bear it. But in reality endo goes far beyond our typical cramps. It can cause symptoms such as IBS, send your thyroid a packing and cripple you over like an appendicitis. What amazes me is how many of us deal with endo every single day. In my own life, endo was a nameless issue that plagued me. I thought I was a wimp, and that I just needed to suck it up, pull on my big girl panties and move on. The thing is, I wasn't even diagnosed with it until after my surgery this summer (and the surgery didn't magically cure me, now I just where the pain is coming from!). Despite constantly telling docs that something was wrong, or having multiple exams and various forms of ultrasounds, and insisting that there had to be a reason beyond the PCOS that was keeping me from getting knocked up, I was never diagnosed. In fact, not one of the plethora of Gynos and specialists that I saw ever even mentioned endometriosis. And I can't help but think, that maybe, just maybe, if some one had listened and had diagnosed me soon enough, I may have been able to receive the treatment necessary to get pregnant. But that wasn't the case for me. And I'm not one to dwell on the past, the what ifs or the I should haves. That doesn't do anything but make you cranky and bitter. And that's the last thing I want to be! :)
What I DO want to be is a resource, a help, an advocate, and an encouragement. So, dear sisters, if you're reading this and thinking to yourself maybe there's more to my infertility or your struggling with undiagnosed pain, get thee to a gyno! And demand that they do testing for endo. There is no reason for us to be in pain just because we're girls.
Here's some common symptoms, courtesy of the Mayo Clinic:
- Painful periods (dysmenorrhea). Pelvic pain and cramping may begin before and extend several days into your period and may include lower back and abdominal pain.
- Pain with intercourse. Pain during or after sex is common with endometriosis.
- Pain with bowel movements or urination. You're most likely to experience these symptoms during your period.
- Excessive bleeding. You may experience occasional heavy periods (menorrhagia) or bleeding between periods (menometrorrhagia).
- Infertility. Endometriosis is first diagnosed in some women who are seeking treatment for infertility.
- Other symptoms. You may also experience fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, bloating or nausea, especially during menstrual periods.
Lots of love!