How long have you been living with endometriosis?
I have been living with endometriosis for almost 13 years, I was completely unaware that endometriosis was the cause of my problems until I received an official diagnosis in September 2020. The average diagnosis time is 7.5 years, it took me 12.
How did you find out that you have endometriosis?
I had Diagnostic Laparoscopy Surgery. Originally to see what was causing the pain in my left ovary but then I ended up having my endometriosis excised. It took around 4 months after surgery before I started to feel myself again.
They found a large amount of endometriosis growing on the outside of my left ovary, and a large amount growing on my bowel pulling it down.
What were your symptoms like when you were diagnosed?
My symptoms consisted of the most horrendous left ovary pain, really irregular periods, pain all month long, fatigue, painful bowel movements, nausea and severe bloating. To the point where I had to invest in a pair of maternity jeans.
What treatment have you had since diagnosis? Did that help?
During my Laparoscopy I had excision surgery, which cuts out the endometriosis at the roots. I have noticed a significant difference and my life has been completely changed, I am just hoping it stays this way for as long as possible before I have to have surgery again.
How did endometriosis affect your life?
Endometriosis has affected all aspects of my life from School, Work, Friendships and relationships. I would often have to cancel plans last minute due to a sudden flare up and people thought I was lying. Due to not having an actual diagnosis I found it quite hard to explain what was wrong.
What helps you to cope with your symptoms?
I manage my symptoms now with natural transdermal Patches, I have a lactose free diet and I am consciously trying to cut out gluten and eat healthier. Healthy eating is sometimes quite the challenge when I am a chocoholic. I also use an electric heat pad, and a lot of rest and relaxation. I have learnt to listen to my body and not to push myself.
Where were you able to find the best emotional support?
Unfortunately, there is very little support after being diagnosed with endometriosis. So I created an Instagram account and a website and blog, and I have never looked back. If anyone is out there who feels lost or is looking to connect with people who have endometriosis, I highly recommend joining the Instagram community. There are a lot of hugely supportive Endo warriors ready to support you and have your back!
What piece of advice do you have for people who were diagnosed (or experience symptoms of) endometriosis?
If you have endometriosis, I am so sorry you are also on this journey. You are strong and fabulous, and I know it can be scary and painful, but you are not alone.
If you have symptoms of endometriosis, please seek medical advice and keep pushing for answers. You know your body and when something is wrong. Many tests such as MRI and Ultrasounds very rarely pick up endometriosis so keep fighting for your Fanny!