And what I know now.
Hi Lovely Ladies
A few years ago I was diagnosed with Endometriosis, after many years of struggling with awful and painful periods.
I always assumed having painful periods was normal, you know a kind of – luck of the draw situation.
I mean, some friends never had pain. Like whatever – we’re happy for you… (Note the sarcasm in my tone).
Anyway, other friends also had bad periods, but I never met anyone that had them as bad as I did.
My 28 day cycle went as follow; sleep, wake up, oooh life, I’m having so much fun. Then some weeks later, my breasts became a little tender and then BAM excruciating pain, nausea, fever, cramps, numb legs oh and the best part – fainting.
Fun! Am I right?
So this went on for a while and then later I decided, well this doesn’t seem so normal anymore. I made an appointment to see my GP and they put me on a contraceptive pill.
I was told it would help with the pain etc, which it actually did. The pill also made it possible for me to know when I would actually have my period, as to not have any unexpected surprises. The pill did a great job, I must say.
But then in 2010 I decided that I’ve been on the pill for way too long (Dr Wanda in the house) and wanted to see what would happen if I stopped using the pill. By this time I was on the pill for give years.
Initially it was all good. Month one, two and three, no problems at all and then when it came around to month four, it felt SO MUCH WORSE than it initially did, before I started using the pill.
I felt like I was dying. Yes, it seems an exaggeration, but at 18 it felt like death.
Everything came back. The cramps, numbing in the legs, nausea accompanied by puking, fever and my all-time favorite pastime – fainting.
So I metaphorically slapped myself in the head, called myself a dumb dumb and went back onto the pill. It was all better and back to normal again within a few months.
I then sat myself down and gave myself a good talking to.
This conversation went as follow. “Wanda, you will never ever go off the pill again, until the day you meet a nice guy, decide to settle down, marry and have children. Other than that crazy chick, you have no reason to stop the pill. Are we clear?!”
And so I did as I told myself.
I stayed on the pill until before my wedding, when I decided to get the Mirena IUD instead.
Only after being married for about a year did I decide to see a specialist. He then almost immediately told me that he suspects Endometriosis and a few weeks later a laparoscopy confirmed his suspicion.
I was relieved!
At least now I knew what was causing all my discomfort and pain.
If only I knew all of this earlier in my life.
I would then know what to look out for, what steps to follow, what questions to ask, how to understand it all and how to treat the symptoms.
1. consult a gynecologist rather than a GP, because the symptoms coincided with my period
2. ask them if I needed to see a specialist
3. have the laparoscopy done, even if I was a lot younger
4. ask if there are any other things I should look out for. I would want to know if Endometriosis was linked to any other illness (I also have IBS – only found out about a year after my Endo diagnosis. The two are linked)
5. make sure that I always had, deep heat period patches on me, as well as painkillers and anti-inflammatory tablets.
6. have a warm water bottle or bean bag at the ready, when I know my period will begin.
7. prepare myself mentally for the discomfort and arrange my activities accordingly. There is nothing worse than being somewhere with friends or family and all you want to do is curl up in a ball and sleep.
8. not have any caffeine or dairy the day before and the first two days of having my period. (Caffeine and lactose aggravate my symptoms)
9. make sure to move around a bit rather than just lay in bed. Being mildly active, like just simply walking, eases the discomfort and pain.
10. drink lots of water – I am still not great with this
11. most importantly know to listen to my body, ALWAYS. You know what feels right and what doesn’t. If something feels off and you don’t feel yourself, go see a doctor. They know how to help.
Just as a side note, I just want to mention that after a considerate amount of reading through; websites, online forums, blogs and social media posts, being diagnosed with Endometriosis can take a long time. Women are misdiagnosed a lot, which is absolutely awful.
I am so grateful that my friend forced me to see a fertility specialist.
But I also know that it was partly my fault as well, for not asking more questions and also making sure that the doctors knew how my periods were negatively impacting my quality of life.
So, I will once again refer to point number 11 above. ALWAYS listen to your body. You know yourself better than anyone and don’t let anyone tell you it’s just all in your head.
Being in constant pain in NOT normal.
Don’t let not knowing; stop you from living a full and happy life.
Chat again soon!