It’s International Women’s Day, 2017! Shoutout to all the amazing women in the world. I’m going to, yet again, blog about something out of the ordinary because of the occasion: endometriosis. If you’re period shy, don’t read any further. Actually, keep reading because it’s good to be educated.
I live with a chronic disease called endometriosis. Not many people know anything about this, but it affects nearly 1 in every 10 females. There is no cure. There are no solutions. Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the uterus lining, is found outside the uterus and attached to other organs. During the menstrual cycle, the misplaced tissue acts like the tissue inside the uterus. It develops into growths that build up and shed down, leaving internal bleeding with no way of exiting the body.
I apologize for the unsettling anatomy and description, but as a female who only wishes for other females to understand, it’s not pleasant. Endometriosis can be extremely painful, and not just during the one week. Because the tissue develops into cysts and lesions that bleed without a release, the cycle continues to become worse and worse each time.
I don’t remember when I was disagnosed officially. It was a few years ago, but I’m still learning things about it everyday. One of the more challenging things about endometriosis is that it causes extreme fatigue. I am always exhausted. For me, this is extremely tough. I have a very active life. I love adventure. I have a career as a dancer. I have two high maintenance pets. Being tired isn’t an option. The constant pain is beyond annoying. The littlest things can be the hardest to achieve.
Because of endometriosis, my entire lifestyle has changed. My diet, my activities, my prescriptions are forever evolving. I have to avoid gluten, dairy, sugar, etc. in order to not throw up after eating. I have to cancel on plans when my body decides to have a flare up and can’t even explain the reason most times. I’ve tried different prescriptions and medications and surgeries to dull the pain. It’s really a massive inconvenience.
The problem with endometriosis stems beyond the symptoms. People are uneducated. It’s not a commonly known thing. It’s easy to just describe it as “a period thing” because it’s too complex and people just think you’re dramatic. Having people compare you to every other girl who has a period is the worst feeling. It’s not easy to sit there and have people think you’re dramatic. With endometriosis it’s normal to throw up for a week straight, have period cramps so bad that you physically can’t stand up, and have every other period symptom multiplied by 100. The hard part is explaining it to people and trying to make them understand that you’re not just having a period.
I’m not asking for sympathy. I’m asking people to stop being sensitive to the topic and to educate themselves. I’m urging girls who live with endometriosis to get out and share their stories. Be open to new ideas that will help you. Sharing your experiences will help other girls in their efforts to find solutions. It’s hard to talk about, but realizing that you’re not alone and that there are supportive people in your life will help tremendously.
I’m so blessed with a supportive family and friend group that have educated themselves and care about endometriosis. It is a “chronic disease,” but it does not define me. I’m not alone. Sometimes it’s difficult and it’s okay to give in, but allowing myself to grow and finding new ways to deal with it is what keeps me active and happy and in love with my life.
It’s International Women’s Day and March is endometriosis awareness month. It’s a great time to learn new things. We have voices and we shouldn’t be afraid to use them for the greater good! Don’t let the fear of embarassment quiet your thoughts because you never know who your voice can help!