Endometriosis: My Story
Five days before my eleventh birthday, the great visit arrived, my period, and from that day onwards, it was a total nightmare.
My cycles have always been regular and not very abundant with very dark colorations, however painful—days in bed, fever before its arrival, excruciating pain, and extreme cold. At 15, I had my first visit to the gynecologist due to the cramps' intensity. Whenever I sat for long periods and was going to stand up, I could not; I felt that something was pulling down on my intestines with everything inside, and I had to stay still for a few seconds to get the strength to stand up. The gynecologist who saw me told me that my menstrual cramps were normal (WTF? 🤬) , that if I took birth control pills, my periods would be less painful, which was the case for a few years.
When I turned 22, I started to have extremely low pains, not only when I had my period but all the time. I got an intravaginal ultrasound where the doctors found a tumor of approximately 8 cm (3.1 in) in my left ovary. The result was a little doubtful, and I had another ultrasound in which the tumor was no longer visible. I managed to make an appointment with a gynecological oncologist who found that the CA 125 antigen in my blood was excessively high, which could mean ovarian cancer. But when a woman has endometriosis, this antigen is also elevated. The gyno told me that, indeed, I could be suffering from endometriosis and prescribed a non-stop 6-month treatment with contraceptives. I got my period for three months with no issue but had trouble after that, and because I had to change cities, I could not continue the treatment.
At 29, I went back to the doctor to consult a chronic pelvic pain. For 9 years, I had lived with this pain, taking analgesics of all kinds to be able to continue with my everyday life since I was told menstrual pain "is normal." This time I had another ultrasound where the tumor appeared again in my left ovary, this time not so big, but there it was.
I had surgery to remove the tumor. The result of the surgery was type V deep endometriosis, but the tumor removed was not endometrial; it was just a tissue that had been encapsulated in this area, which turned out to be benign. After surgery, I consulted several private gynecologists and listened to all kinds of hormonal treatments with pills. I accepted a slightly different treatment with the Mirena hormonal IUD, which professionals recommend to reduce the symptoms of endometriosis.
I have been on treatment for 3 months, and although the IUD is a complex device because it is said that in the first 6 months, there may be longer bleeding, I have only noticed that my menstrual blood has improved to a more vibrant red color. My period was always accompanied by an abnormal tissue that had the appearance of pieces of skin different from clots. The use of the menstrual cup has been a benefit to see these changes in blood formation and see the results.
Currently, I believe I have a high pain threshold because after hearing many doctors tell me it's normal to feel pain during my menstruation, I believed it. Today, I know it should never hurt exaggeratedly. That if your cramps hurt more than usual, you should get the help you need.
I suffered a lot and was not able to enjoy my sex life entirely because of the pain. Whenever my period arrived, I felt terrible, sometimes I thought I would die, but I had to hide it because "we all get periods, and I was being a weak girl."
But what people don't know is that menstruation becomes a disabling disease that we have to learn to live with for many of us.
EXTREME PERIOD PAIN IS NOT NORMAL!
Today in my 30s, with a hormonal IUD, I have a lot of faith in the treatment, and I just hope the pain that comes to my door every month ends. The pain arrives less intense now, although I think the day I don't feel it will be strange because I'm used to it accompanying me every month.