1 in 10 women; an estimated 176 million people worldwide suffer from Endometriosis, a painful and often times life-altering disorder in which tissue that typically lines the uterus grows outside of it. The onset and progression of the condition is highly individual but some key symptoms are abnormal menstruation, chronic back/leg/pelvic pain, abdominal fullness, fatigue and pain during or after intercourse.
As prevalent as Endometriosis is, it remains highly undiagnosed as the average diagnostic time is 7 years. This could be due in part to the fact that the only way to truly diagnose ‘endo’ is through a laparoscopic keyhole surgery. Of course, medical professionals would like to avoid ‘unnecessary surgery’ that despite being less invasive still harbours an incredibly difficult recovery but is it possible that perhaps doctors just don’t take women’s pain seriously? We’re told that being in pain and being a women are synonymous. It took me exactly 7 years to realize that feeling so ill; being in pain to the point of throwing up/passing out whilst on my period is indeed NOT normal.
Many people who have been diagnosed with endometriosis or any other chronic illness have a story of the various doctors they had to go to, who perhaps told them it was “all in their heads” and proceeded to medicate them and send them on their way. The effects of living with an ‘invisible illness’ can throw your mind through the ringer. You feel lonely because perhaps there's a lack of or total misinformation regarding your condition. You might feel a bit nuts because you’re being told by doctors that you’re just being a hypochondriac.You feel guilty because your health is unpredictable and you can’t always plan ahead for things. I personally have felt extremely guilty in my relationship because although I have the most incredible boyfriend and despite the fact that I’m generally pretty confident and think I’m a total gem; I sometimes feel like by dating someone who isn’t sick that perhaps his life would be easier.
Currently there is no cure for endometriosis. Myths will have it that one can rid themselves of the condition by getting a hysterectomy or by getting pregnant; both of which are not true. For now the major thing is awareness. Below are some fantastic resources and people that are leading the charge and improving the lives of women all over the world.