I have endometriosis. Me and roughly 8.5 million other North American women suffer from what can be an incredibly painful condition. It isn’t a terminal disease, but it can cause debilitating pain and infertility. And even with the large number of women who suffer from endo, there is very little known about it and there is no cure.
What is Endometriosis, you ask?
Great question! I had no clue until I did some web MDing after I was diagnosed a year ago. A woman with endometriosis has uterine cells elsewhere in her body other than her uterus. They can be anywhere in the pelvis (by the bladder, intestines, colon, ovaries) or anywhere in the body (the brain, lungs, etc.). These uterine cells act just like uterine cells in your uterus, each month they bleed, but unlike uterine cells in the uterus, they have have no way to escape the body. This can cause a buildup of nodules and cause scaring.
When I first read what was going on in my body I was like “&^%$! No wonder why this hurts so much!” But the interesting thing is some women with endometriosis don’t exhibit any symptoms, and the amount of pain you feel does not correlate to the amount of nodules and scaring you have. A woman with stage one endometriosis (little scaring) can have tremendous pain, while another woman with stage four (a lot of scaring and adhesions) won’t necessarily exhibit any symptoms and might not find out she has the condition until she is trying to get pregnant.
That’s the other real downer to endo. Apart from the pain, roughly a third of women diagnosed with endometriosis are also infertile. Talk about adding insult to injury.
Why is it important to know about endometriosis?
Roughly 10% of women suffer from it, but very little is known about endometriosis and it’s often misdiagnosed. Even as recently as a few decades ago, women were told their painful symptoms were in their head OR that being in constant pain was just a natural part of being a woman (What the what?!). Not only was that incredibly unhelpful and alienating, it also prevented any research from happening.
The Endometriosis Foundation of America works to bring awareness to this condition and toward finding a cure. As of now, women can have surgery to remove these painful nodules, but it isn’t a cure. Sometimes the surgery helps, but more often than not, more adhesions develop and women suffering from endometriosis have multiple surgeries throughout their lifetime.
Endometriosis Foundation of America founders: Padma Lakshmi and Susan Sarandon with Bridget Moynahan (photo credit).
Thanks, you guys, for letting me bend your ear about this stuff. It means the world to me if you just gave this post a little read and know a bit more about this pervasive condition. Feel free to click the donate link below to contribute to the Endometriosis Foundation of America if you so choose, but know I’m just as grateful that you took a minute to read this post. Spreading awareness is the first step toward helping us become even more educated about our bodies.
Donate to the Endometriosis Foundation of America:
Click HERE to safely and securely donate through paypal.
And a big thank you to Diane of Snapshot Fashion! Thank you for organizing this fundraiser, Diane and sharing your story with us!