*Please note, I am not a doctor. This is my personal experience with Endometriosis.*
I had never heard of endometriosis before 2017. And after almost a year of feeling like I was going crazy, I finally have some answers. It all started in March when I began to feel severe pain in and around my uterus. Every month after that brought different symptoms I found quite difficult to explain. How do you describe symptoms that sound just like bad PMS? Except, this was so much more than that.
The Mayo Clinic defines Endometriosis as:
I have a note in my phone that carries all the symptoms I experienced over the course of a year. A note that contains the frustration and uncertainty of my pain. I opened this note at least once a day for an entire month just to keep myself from going crazy. I questioned these symptoms (and my sanity), when a man passed off my concerns. But my gut was right…
My gut was right when I realized my daughter had a dairy allergy…
My gut was right when I admitted to myself that I had PPD…
My gut was right every time I came back to endometriosis.
To give you a visual time frame, I first started to notice my symptoms in March of 2017. I had a new paragard IUD inserted a month prior, so I believed a lot of this was due to the trial period. I had my first pragard IUD inserted a few months after having A, and experienced all the typical symptoms, but they were NOTHING compared to what I’m about to list off. Over time these symptoms became increasingly worse, to the point I could no longer ignore them. I would end up on my couch during the majority of my period, and had zero energy to even take care of my daughter.
Uncomfortable sex Pain after sex Bleeding after sex
Irregular periods Spotting Ovarian Pain
Nausea Painful cramps BLOATING Breast Tenderness
In October of 2017 my symptoms became unbearable, so I decided to see my OB. I made sure to bring a list with me to my appointment so I wouldn’t leave anything out. The practice I have gone to for two years had changed so much, I didn’t realize there weren’t any female doctors left. But I needed to see someone as soon as possible, and decided to go ahead with a male OB.
*I’d like to point out that I am not against male OB’s, and I’m sure there are some wonderful male obstetricians out there. But I personally will never see a male OB again after this experience.*
Armed and ready with my list, I voiced my concerns to him. I listed every painful symptom I had been experiencing over the past couple of months. It became clear to me that he was only focused on a few of my symptoms. After my exam I was told I would need an ultrasound of my ovaries & right breast. He wanted to check my ovaries for cysts, which would explain the pain. And my right breast had a small lump that needed to be checked on. I tried to voice my suspicion that it might be endometriosis, which he quickly dismissed.
I left the office feeling confused, but hopeful that these ultrasounds would bring answers. Unfortunately they did not. Both ultrasounds showed nothing. He told me I should get my IUD removed and try pelvic floor therapy. Here’s where I started to lose my cool a little bit. When I first explained my symptoms I told him they couldn’t be related to my IUD. I had one before the one that’s currently in there, and first one ended up falling out. I NEVER experienced symptoms like the ones I described above with my first IUD. Plus, the ultrasound showed it was in perfect position. So after researching like a mad woman I came to conclusion it had to be something like endometriosis.
The next day I called him up and explained my findings. He dismissed everything and told me how rare endometriosis is, there’s no way I could have it.
I HATE WHEN DOCTORS SAY SOMETHING IS RARE.
Just because it’s rare does not mean it couldn’t happen to me. So I cried for about a week until I got up the courage to get a second opinion. I had to wait about two weeks, but finally got an appointment with a female ob who specializes in Endometriosis & PCOS. I had all my files sent to her office and walked in with my list.
My Saving Grace.
After reviewing my tests and the list of symptoms, she looked at me and said, “Unless I perform surgery, there is no way to be 100% sure you have Endometriosis. But your thorough list of symptoms and tests lead me to believe you definitely have the early stages of Endometriosis.”
Those words flooded my body with a sea of relief. For months I searched through articles, blog posts, and published research to find answers. I sat in my bathroom, or on my couch questioning what was wrong with me.
I wasn’t afraid of the diagnosis, I was afraid of not being heard.
We set a plan for the next two years, which included a drastic diet change. Since my husband and I want to try for another child next year, we decided against birth control and I kept my IUD in. She recommended that I try out pelvic floor therapy which has proved to be extremely helpful. With a new diet and some therapy, my symptoms have diminished significantly. Although they haven’t gone away completely, I am able to get through my period without severe pain. My anti-inflammatory diet has been wonderful, and I plan to share more on that in the future!
If there’s one thing motherhood has taught me, it’s to trust my instincts. I’m learning not to doubt myself so much, and trust my body when something doesn’t feel right.
If you are going through Endometriosis I’d love to know more about what works for you! Feel free to share in the comments below 🙂