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Endometriosis – Sarah’s story

March is not just another month on the calendar. For millions of women worldwide, it’s a time to raise awareness about a condition that often goes unnoticed and misunderstood – Endometriosis. Endometriosis Month serves as a platform to educate, advocate, and support those affected by this debilitating yet frequently overlooked disorder. In this blog, we delve into what endometriosis is, its symptoms, impact, and the importance of spreading awareness.

Listen to Sarah’s story

Our own endo warrior, Sarah, heads up our E-commerce business at Mum & You, is a busy mum of two young beautiful children and has been dealing with the effects of endometriosis for 20+ years. Listen to her harrowing story to get a sense of the pain she is in everyday and the profound impact it has on her life and as a mum.

“The pain is out of this world. It feels like… someone has got a white, hot blade and is stabbing you in your lower abdomen…”

What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a chronic condition where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus, called endometrium, grows outside the uterus. This tissue can be found on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, outer surface of the uterus, and other pelvic organs. Unlike the normal endometrial tissue that sheds during menstruation, the misplaced tissue has no way to exit the body. This leads to inflammation, scarring, and adhesions, causing severe pain and potential fertility issues.

Symptoms

The symptoms of endometriosis can vary from person to person, but commonly include:

  1. Pelvic pain: Often described as a deep, stabbing pain that intensifies during menstruation.
  2. Painful periods (dysmenorrhea): Experiencing severe cramps before and during menstruation.
  3. Pain during or after intercourse (dyspareunia).
  4. Chronic pelvic pain not necessarily associated with menstruation.
  5. Fatigue, nausea, and bowel or urinary disorders, particularly during menstruation.
  6. Infertility: Endometriosis can lead to scarring and adhesions, affecting fertility.

Impact on Daily Life

Endometriosis is not merely a menstrual issue; it can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. The chronic pain and other symptoms can interfere with daily activities, work, relationships, and mental health. Women with endometriosis often face challenges in being properly diagnosed and may encounter skepticism or dismissal of their symptoms.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosing endometriosis can be challenging and a long process, as symptoms overlap with other conditions. The gold standard for diagnosis is laparoscopic surgery, where a surgeon examines the pelvic organs for endometrial tissue. However, imaging tests like ultrasounds and MRIs can sometimes indicate the presence of endometriosis.

Treatment aims to manage symptoms, reduce pain, and improve fertility. It may include:

  1. Pain medication: Over-the-counter pain relievers or prescription drugs to manage pain.
  2. Hormonal therapy: Birth control pills, hormonal IUDs, or GnRH agonists to suppress menstruation and reduce endometrial growth.
  3. Surgery: Laparoscopic surgery to remove endometrial implants, scar tissue, and adhesions. In severe cases, a hysterectomy may be recommended.
  4. Alternative therapies: Acupuncture, physical therapy, dietary changes, and stress management techniques can complement medical treatment.

Importance of Awareness

Endometriosis affects an estimated 1 in 10 women of reproductive age worldwide, yet it remains underdiagnosed and misunderstood. Awareness is crucial for early diagnosis, timely intervention, and improved support for those living with the condition. By raising awareness, we can break the silence surrounding endometriosis, advocate for better research, healthcare resources, and support networks.

Where to get support

Endometriosis UK – the UK’s leading charity for all those affected by endometriosis, determined to ensure that everyone gets prompt diagnosis and the best treatment and support.

@Justanothergirlwithendo – TikToker sharing her experience of having endometriosis

@theendometriosisfoundation – charity raising awareness of endometriosis, providing support and education

Endometriosis is more than just menstrual pain; it’s a complex and often debilitating condition that affects millions of women globally. Endometriosis Month serves as a reminder to educate ourselves, support those affected, and advocate for improved understanding and resources. Together, let’s shine a light on endometriosis, empower individuals to seek help, and work towards a future where no one suffers in silence.

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