March is here, the year is moving at a pace, what’s March known for? It’s the start of the lent period culminating with Easter celebrations, It’s the best month for Basketball (let the betting begin), It’s also the best month for vasectomies (gentlemen shall we?) and it lastly comes in like a Lion and goes out like a Lamb, this particular month for me is one that has drawn me to one thing Awareness! Awareness! – Endo-Awareness Month, many would be asking what Endo is? We shall get to that, anyways;
It’s been a while since I last posted, feels great to finally get to share something eye-opening, something informative. During my sabbatical, on my usual “follow train” on Twitter I came across a very interesting handle “plumpypipsqueak” what drew me to it was that on the 1st read I would barely pronounce the handle, so I decided to check this tweep out and boom I came across a bio that was so amusing, very sexual and yet very painful as well, it read
“A woman with Morals of a man, Penis enthusiast and Blowjob expert, Endometriosis and Fibromyalgia warrior“
Given I understood most of the statement, I focused on understanding what the last phrase really meant “Endometriosis & Fibromyalgia warrior” and I was a little broken at how an enthusiast & expert would prosper in their trade while going through all this pain. plumpypipsqueak suffers from both these painful conditions which is sad a thing but, she’s doesn’t entirely let this put her down, conversations I heard with her were painful : hearing her story and how much she has gone through, yet always keeping the faith and looking for the good in life, I must say was very inspiring.
For those who don’t know what Endometriosis is, I will break it down for you: Endometriosis (Endo) is a painful disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus (endometrium) grows outside your uterus. Endometriosis most commonly involves your ovaries, Fallopian tubes and the tissue lining your pelvis.
Symptoms of Endometriosis may vary but may include pelvic pain before, during, and after menstruation (pain so bad it incapacitates you), irregular periods, irregular bleeding, heavy bleeding, pain when opening bowels/bladder, pelvic swelling, lower back pain, fatigue, mood swings. The problem is that some of these symptoms are ‘normal’ when menstruating, but women have to ask themselves how much pain/discomfort is normal. The answer is that, if the pain/discomfort gets in the way of your daily life, it’s probably too much.
In the case of one of the women I talked to, this was her experience, “after her first menstruation, on the first 2 days of her period she would have to stay in bed, in excruciating pain, drenched in sweat, exhausted, bleeding heavily, trying to get some rest, or her mum would find her passed out in the bathroom, with her head in the toilet (because she was vomiting). She always missed school/uni/work on those first two days. Their ‘family doctor’ said that the vomiting meant she had a sensitive bike and should be careful with her diet. She never discussed the pain and bleeding too much, as her mum had the same experience, so she just thought it was normal.”
The usual biblical stories that are referenced to girls are also part of the problem, sometimes girls are told menstruation is a punishment; God punished Eve for eating the forbidden fruit (these stories are actually told, wow) and it being a punishment you expect it to get in to the way of your life when it shouldn’t. Also, women do not talk, which is another huge problem, because they never get to discuss how much pain they should expect, how much bleeding is too much, and what other symptoms they should expect. Periods are considered a taboo not to be spoken about. They’re dirty. Men shy away when they even hear the word mentioned.
She lived for 10 years with the same difficulties until 2015 when she had a miscarriage and her body decided it had enough. She later got an Ultra Scan and she was diagnosed with Endo, The little amount of information she got from the gynecologist is something she described as “hopeless”, basically there is no treatment, no cure, may never have babies. She had to do her own research to find out that it’s not as hopeless if you fight for your health every damn day.
On top of looking out for the symptoms, for one to be able to diagnose endometriosis they can see a doctor for better checks i.e. Pelvic Exam, Ultrasound, and Laparoscopy . Besides that another huge problem is getting the right treatment. Endometriosis feeds itself on oestrogen and, being a woman, you’re never in short supply. Even if you have a total hysterectomy, it’s been found that endo lesions create their own supply of oestrogen. So the battle with endo never ends. The best treatment course is considered surgery, where the surgeon HAS TO remove every bit of endo tissue to give you the best chances, and then hormonal treatments for the rest of your life. There are women who have found diet to be a huge help, others who use exercise. As long as it works for you, you keep on doing it.
Do not listen to doctors who tell you “your body will take care of the remaining tissue” Never ever in your life! I’ve done the mistake of thinking my research could not possibly compare to gynae (not an endo expert) knowledge, and it cost me about 1 year and a half so far. Endo is a disease where you have to fight for getting diagnosed, fight for getting treated properly, fight your body every day.
Endometriosis in Uganda
In Uganda Endometriosis, awareness was done by Dr.Dennis Ssekyanzi and La Perle a former resident of St. Alberta in Canada about 5 years ago; it’s a condition that’s prevalent in Uganda, according to Health Grove the impact of Endometriosis in Uganda overtime has decreased by 26.7% since 1990.
But I believe with the various problems facing our health sector this is a problem that is still existent but given diagnosis is still difficult, it’s little or heard of in Uganda, We shouldn’t let this become another “nodding disease” that got the country unaware there is need for awareness on the condition it’s a worldwide phenomenon for example in the UK 2 million women are believed to be suffering from it, most diagnosed being ages of 25 to 40.
- 10% of women worldwide have endometriosis (176m worldwide).
- 1 in 10 women suffers from Endometriosis.
- On average it takes 7.5years from onset of symptoms to get a diagnosis.
- The cause of Endometriosis is unknown and there is no definite cure.
Many of you may not know but March is the worldwide awareness month for Endometriosis. So for all ladies out there facing similar symptoms and May not entirely be sure of what they could be suffering from, please go see a Doctor. Do some research I share some resource banks one can look at to have a better understanding of the condition.
Disclaimer: Views expressed are cognitive with conversations with an Endo-Patient
I would like to thank Andreea for sharing her story with me and making it possible for me to be able to share this message with y’all.
Please share, get that Endo Message out there, you could save a life.