Hello, dreamers! Thank you for reading yet another blog post by yours truly. Today I wanted to discuss Endometriosis since, I was recently told that I “more than likely” had it based on my symptoms. This didn’t come as a complete shock to me but I never thought that I would have something that can cause infertility, but here I am. If you read my last blog post about my first acupuncture experience, then you already know that the acupuncturist specializes in fertility wellness and treats a lot of Endometriosis in her patients, so I very much trust her opinion. Something that I learned was that the only way to truly diagnose Endometriosis is by surgery which isn’t ideal in most cases. Sometimes doctors can tell from ultrasounds but even that is rare so when I write diagnosis like “diagnosis” it’s because I’m only diagnosed based on symptoms and medical history. I do have an appointment with my doctor in June where I may request an ultrasound, if possible.
I started my period when I was 13 years old, which was actually later than some other girls in my grade. I don’t remember much about my first period other than my mother slapping me, don’t call 911 yet, it was a “Jewish” tradition that was carried on for each woman in my family. The slap wasn’t hard so I was okay. That’s not even the worst thing that my mom did during my childhood, which we can get to at another time. I don’t really remember cramping or anything like that, I honestly don’t even know if women experience cramping during their first period and for all I know, it hurt like hell. It’s been 12 years, so my memory is a little blurry.
My earliest memory of a painful period was when I was 14 or 15 years old, a freshman in high school. I remember the pain being so bad that I asked to be excused from class numerous times so I could cry in the bathroom. I didn’t have medicine or heat. After awhile, I would tell the teacher in a whisper that I wasn’t feeling well and then I would go to the front office where the school nurse worked and I would lay on the carpet or the couch in the fetal position and cry until one of my parents could pick me up from school. This was a very common occurrence.
From then on, my periods were painful basically every month. I missed a lot of school days because the pain was so bad.
Something else that isn’t talked about with painful periods, is the very heavy bleeding. I wore pads until I was 16 years old because tampons would intimidate me. I was the girl that bled through her underwear and pants often and it was always so embarrassing. When I was in middle school, I was too afraid to ask the teacher if I could use the restroom every hour so I would wait until break which was usually 2 or 3 hours apart and by then, it was usually too late. I’ve always had a heavy blood flow during my periods, that hasn’t changed. I still remember what it was like to sleep with a pad on and it was miserable, which I am sure a lot of you know. If I didn’t wake up to change the pad in the middle of the night, I would wake up in a mess. Which was never fun.
My symptoms include:
- Heavy blood flow during periods
- Painful periods (usually the first 24 hours, rare occasion for the pain to last the first 48 hours)
- Cramping during ovulation (usually pretty noticeable and occasionally I have to use heat to treat the cramping pain)
- Occassion pain during sex
- Often extremely nauseous during the first 24 hours of my period
- Hot sweats all during the day, only during the first 24 hours of my period
- Headaches and mood swings 5 or less days prior to my period starting
So, as you can see from the list above, I have a lot of period symptoms. You would think they would be hard to keep track of. I’d say I experience these symptoms 3 out of 4 periods and I feel very lucky on the cycles where everything is painless and “normal”.
As I mentioned above this diagnosis isn’t surprising to me. The more I’ve gotten into this community the more I have learned about PCOS and Endometriosis along with other underlining issues with infertility. Something that does bother me is the fact that I’ve gone to my doctor (which has changed 3x since I was 13) about my painful periods. I even went to the emergency room one time because the pain was so bad and I don’t remember ever hearing the word “Endometriosis” and it’s confusing to me. If my symptoms were always this bad, why not even educate me or my family on what I can do to help my cramping and other symptoms? Instead at 16 I was put on birth control to “regulate my periods and help with period cramps” but in reality the birth control actually made my cramps a lot worse. I stopped taking the birth control at 18 years old and now that I am married and trying to conceive, I am very thankful that I didn’t take birth control longer because I see how it can affect fertility.
Moving forward, I am working on the anti-inflammatory diet which has been an experience. I am working on sharing an update on how I am doing with that and I am going to share the healthy alternatives that I am adding into my diet, in case any of you are on this diet or interested in giving it a try. I am currently about to ovulate for cycle 11 so I won’t know if this diet has “worked” until later but we will see.
Comment below or send me an email if you or someone you know has been diagnosed with Endometriosis and let me know how you cope/what you’ve changed about your lifestyle/etc.