Whilst most girls dread that time of the month, I don’t. Not because I like periods (who does?) but because I don’t have periods anymore. This is because I have Endometriosis.
Whilst in some ways not having a period is a blessing, it is masked by the hormone treatments I have to take to suppress the symptoms of my disease.
Endometriosis is an illness where the inside of your womb (your endometrium that breaks away during your period) grows elsewhere in your body. There is no known cause for the disease and no cure either. Just surgery, medication and management.
Back when I had periods…
The one thing I have learnt is that, whilst periods can cause discomfort they should not be agonisingly painful. THAT IS NOT NORMAL! My memory of having periods as a teenager include sitting in the back of the car crying due to the severe pain and being sent home from social and sports events. I’ve had broken bones, multiple surgeries and health problems. So I can honestly say I have a high pain threshold, but I couldn’t cope with this pain. Even though it is recommended, I couldn’t exercise during my period, as moving my legs severely hurt my pelvis. I really struggled to go about my daily life. The pain was often so horrific that I couldn’t stand up.
Yes, periods are uncomfortable. But they should be relievable with a small dose of OTC painkillers or a hot water bottle. If you’re regularly having extreme pain during your periods, then I suggest asking your GP to be referred to a gynaecologist.
Speaking to Endometriosis sufferers about period care…
When I speak to others with Endometriosis, the majority say tampons are very painful to use. Some also found that chemicals and dioxins in the mainstream tampons caused further aggravation. Organic cotton, unscented tampons appear to be a better solution. The main concern most sufferers highlighted was that, due to endometriosis, they have a very heavy flow and often get leakages. Sanitary pads are the simplest and most pain-free option, however, they normally need changing every 2-3 hours or often sufferers have to “double pad”.
Having said all this, my life is not as bad as it may sound. I now have a loving boyfriend who I know will stay with me through sickness and health. I understand my body better now, more than I ever thought possible. My journey through endometriosis is not over – no one is ever cured of Endometriosis. People find ways to suppress the symptoms.
If you feel that what your body is going through is impacting your daily life then please do seek advice and don’t suffer in silence. Symptoms of Endometriosis include painful periods, irregular periods, pelvic or back pain, painful sex and sometimes infertility. If you have any concerns please do talk to your GP and look after yourself.
Written by Tanya Barad, Endometriosis Awareness Promoter (@Tanny_lou)
Disclaimer: This blog is based on my personal experience. My comments are based on what I’ve personally gone through and what I have been told. I’m sharing this personal story with the aim to help others in the same situation and to raise awareness. I have no medical experience or qualifications and I don’t pretend to be giving medical advice. If you are concerned about any of your period symptoms you should contact your GP for advice.