This is the beginning of my journey to treating and possibly curing a problem I’ve been dealing with for over 10 years. I started having really painful periods since I was 16 or 17 years old.
But it’s not just the painful periods that made me think I have endometriosis. It’s the many other problems related to my period, my overall health, and my own personal research that has pushed me to come to the conclusion that I DO have endometriosis.
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What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is when the type of tissue that normally lines the uterus – called the endometrium – is found in other locations of the body where it’s not supposed to be. The most common place is the abdominal cavity where it can land on the peritoneum, the thin layer that covers the inside of the abdomen, the ovaries, and fallopian tubes.
Like the lining of the uterus, the misplaced endometrial tissue is triggered by the same hormonal changes that trigger your period to come, causing this tissue to shed, or bleed, as well. When this shedding occurs, blood, which is trapped in the abdomen, is irritating to the nerves in the abdomen, causing much of the pain associated with endometriosis. ~AVIVA ROMM MD
I know it’s important not to self-diagnose, but I’ve learned over the past 6 years of my healthy journey that it’s important to LEARN YOUR BODY! Try new things and leave old things alone in order to figure yourself out.
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Here are a few books available to help you under more about endo and what to do about it.
In addition, I’ve been experiencing the almost all the symptoms of endometriosis and I’ve tried to mention my problems to my past OB/GYNs. They all have denied it. In fact, I had one doctor say, “I don’t think you have endometriosis.” A conclusion arrived at after no examination, no test, not even a scan. Just, “Nah! I don’t think you have that.”
Honestly, I feel like my insurance should have never been billed after going to an appointment with no follow-through from a doctor. Doctor’s are no longer are allowed to just shine their pen-light in my eye and charge me $300. No way!
Even though everyone one of them has dismissed my concerns, they would still offer prescriptions for a birth control pills to relieve some of the symptoms temporarily. Basically, to relieve symptoms of a problem they keep denying. The pills didn’t help the painful periods and the equally painful moments in between. They just write out what they think I can afford instead of seeking the root of the problem.
It’s because of this I have a hard time trusting most doctors and leaving my care completely to them. Therefore, I had to learn my body and learn what to do.
*Note: I will continue to see an OB/GYN about my health concerns and pap smears. However, It’s imperative that I continue to search for an OB/GYN that will take my endometriosis symptoms and reproductive health seriously.
The 8 Clues! (All are TMI.)
The symptoms I have been dealing with are…
1. Painful Bowel Movements. (The worst part EVER!!!)
Yes. I get enough fiber, but it hurts like hell when it’s about to come out and trying to hold it in makes it 100x worse. It hurts bad enough to make me scared to go to the bathroom or even scared to pass gas and when I do, I scream in pain. One time, I tried telling all of this to an OB/GYN who was seemingly incoherent to what I was try to say and all she kept going on about was making sure I am getting enough fiber.
2. Debilitating Menstrual Cramps.
These have been alleviated since having my son over 6 years ago. The magic of having a baby! It can change things for the better. However, there have been times that they will try to rear their ugly heads again, but I can tame them with naproxen and a heating pad, usually.
When I was in my teens and early 20’s I would be doubled over in pain. It would be hard to walk or even just stand upright. And there were times that I didn’t want to breathe because it would seem to be worse if I did. Doesn’t that just seem way too odd? And if it doesn’t, I know it’s too odd for me to keep living with.
3. Simultaneous Back Pain and Stomach Pain.
From my bra line on down to my lumbar, I am in a lot of pain when my period approaches and arrives. My abdomen and back will hurt at the same time. Which is a big problem because I only have one heating pad.
This double-teaming of pain would keep me from standing or walking normally.
4. Bleeding In Between Periods.
Any bleeding in between periods is abnormal, from my understanding. When it was at it’s worst, it will typically happen around ovulation and last until my next period. So, that’s about 14 days worth of bleeding. That gets in the way of intercourse and any moments of intimacy for me and my husband.
The blood would be brown or almost black. It would be spotting, but it would show up randomly and stain my underwear. It would have the texture of wet baking soda and it would dry really fast. It would also smell like wet baking soda and wheat flour.
5. Infertility or Secondary Infertility.
Now, I must confess. We haven’t been trying super hard to conceive another child. However, there were many moments when we just didn’t care to find a condom and we knew that I was ovulating. Conceiving my son was easy and with no effort. Getting pregnant with him was a complete surprise and maybe I have been hoping to be surprised just once again.
In addition, I’ve had many times that my period was late and I had all the symptoms that I had during my first pregnancy. I’d take a pregnancy test and it would be negative.
In fact, every single pregnancy test I’ve taken over the past 6 years were all negative. I’ll confess that no matter what we were going through in life, I’d wish for them to be positive every single time.
I’m not exactly sure how I was able to conceive my son so easily. However, during that time my endometriosis symptoms were at their lowest that I’ve ever experienced.
6. Little to no Clots Passed During Period.
To pass those mucousy looking blobs while on your period is completely normal or at least normal for me. I used to pass them. They are pieces of the uterine lining that is supposed to be shed every period. Since I had my son, I would pass what look like brown sand or lentils,
I just hadn’t been the same since I had my son.
Truth: I had not been the same since I got the depo-shot.
My uterine lining wasn’t shedding properly and that was a problem.
7. Chronic Pain and Bloating.
Y’all! I couldn’t eat much of anything without becoming bloated later. By the end of the day, I’d look pregnant and feel so uncomfortable. My digestion would seem to be super slow and I would experience indigestion and some regurgitation of what I would eat. It’s always the worst at night. Yes, I would try to eat smaller meals at night, but that did not guarantee that I wouldn’t feel better or bloat.
Another symptom that I used to deal with, but not so much anymore is…
8. Infrequent Periods.
They used to show up whenever and there was a time that I missed a period. During that time I had never been sexually active. I was under large amounts of stress in college, eating large amounts of junk food, and my weight was higher than ever.
Now, my periods are very predictable and consistently about 26 to 28 days apart.
Other symptoms I Had Not Mentioned to My Doctors.
Pain during sex.
Severe Mood Swings
Pain in other areas of my abdomen and groin.
So, what do I plan to do about it?
I’ve already started testing out my own personal regimen to relieve or even cure the problem. They claim that there is no cure for endometriosis, but I don’t believe that at all. It’s been two months since I’ve started and I’ve made so much progress. I’ve got so much to share with you. Please stay tuned. I’ll be creating a post on what is and isn’t working.
Here are some sources I recommend reading if you think that you or someone you know may have endometriosis. Some are written by medical professionals and some are written by women like you and me who have been experiencing symptoms.
- The Natural Approach to Endometriosis: Getting to Your Root Causes
- 13 Endometriosis Symptoms My Doctors Missed
- 5 Natural Endometriosis Remedies
- Black Women & Endometriosis
- Endometriosis & Endometrial Cancer: What All Black Women Need To Know
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Talk to you later!