Sunday, February 28, 2010
March is Endomtriosis Awareness month. I think the actual "awareness week" is the 2nd week of March, but this is a serious disease that I personally think deserves an entire month in the spotlight.
Here are a few basic questions, followed with some Tia-speak type answers. I'm not a doctor, I don't claim to be one, but I do suffer from this disease, and I have done my research. This is not a post sharing my story, although that post is soon to come. This is just a post to tell you what Endometriosis it is, in hopes that I might be able to help you or somebody that you know.
What is Endometriosis, you ask? Basically- its when the lining of your uterus grows where its not supposed to. On your ovaries, in your fallopian tubes- anywhere and everywhere.
What does Endometriosis feel like, you wonder? Like hell, I say. The number one symptom of this disease is pain. Some women will have little to no pain (its still unknown why), but the majority of women who suffer from this disease will feel it. Imagine the worst possible period that you've ever had. It usually feels like that, or worse. Very severe cramping, very heavy bleeding. Seriously, the best way I can describe it, is saying that its like the worst period of your life. Every month. Pain in your lower back, pain with bowel movements (just keepin' it real here), pain during sex, pain pain pain. And not just like "ouch, a paper cut" type pain, but... deep, stabbing, you might feel like you're dying, type pain. Please visit this page, for more information on the pain, and how you can manage it (ladies, don't be afraid to ask your doctor for something stronger than over the counter pain killers).
How do I know if I have Endometriosis? Well... typically getting diagnosed isn't easy. Really, the only way a doctor can determine if you have Endometriosis, is to see it. Since its something that grows inside of our bodies- seeing it might be kind of hard. For most women, a diagnosis requires a laparoscopic surgery. They insert a camera through your belly button, look around, and if its there, they'll usually see it. There are other methods of catching the disease- sometimes a simple physical examination, sometimes an x-ray... but please be aware that this disease is tricky, it hides, and sometimes remains invisible for years. Getting a diagnosis can sometimes be exhausting. If you're aware that it exists though, and that it might be your specific issue- then you and your doctor can work together to get your diagnosis that much faster. Click here for more information on getting diagnosed.
How is Endometriosis treated? Before I give you treatment options, I have to tell you- there is no cure. Its not a disease that will kill you (although it may feel like it), but its not a disease that can be taken away with a series of antibiotics either. The number one treatment for Endo, is pain killers. No, I didn't make that up. Other methods of treatment are hormone therapy (birth control, mock menopause), pregnancy (you don't have cycles when your pregnant, and your cycle is what this disease feeds off of) laparoscopic surgery to remove lesions, endometrial ablasion, hysterectomy, and changes in diet. For more information on the treatment of Endometriosis, click here.
Wait, what are some of the other symptoms? I know pain can't be the only one? No, pain isn't the only one, there are several symptoms and health issues that result from this disease. Endometriosis doesn't follow a specific pattern though, its different for everyone. Infertility, IBS, fever during your cycle, depression, a wounded immune system, headaches, heavy bleeding, irregular periods. There are so many symptoms that mimic other conditions, you really need to listen to your body and do your research. This disease is hereditary a lot of the time (not always), so make sure you ask your family members if they were diagnosed, or suffered from similar symptoms.
I wish I could cram all of my knowledge and experiences into this one blog post, summarize it so that you might be able to find some kind of relief or comfort as your eyes glance through my words- but I think I've done all that I can do for this one post. I truly hope that some of you might read what I've written, found me through a Twitter friend, stumbled here from a random google search, whatever- and will maybe take a few minutes to evaluate your own personal experiences, or the suffering of a friend that may have. I hope that for somebody, this post puts two and two together, and you start on your journey to getting answers, and finding peace with your body.
Sometime in the next couple of days, I'll share my own personal Endometriosis story with you. It won't be kittens and rainbows, it will be very real, but hopefully it will help another woman, maybe two, realize that their story is an awful lot like mine- and maybe, just maybe, they'll get a diagnosis of their own.
If you'd like to help spread the word about Endometriosis this month, or any month for that matter, please feel free to use the image that I've used on this post, in your own post. If you're unable to pluck it right off of my page, please email me- Christopherandtia@yahoo.com. I've also made a button to put on your website or blog, that will link back here to this post- you can see it over there on my sidebar (looky over to the right?), and you can grab one for yourself by just copy and pasting the html code below, into your own template.
For more information on Endometriosis, please visit a few of the following websites:
-The endometriosis Association