Hey guys, so i've spoken about my illness a few times on Instagram. And every time I have, I've been inundated with messages from women in the same position as me. Endometriosis is a chromic disease that effects 1 in 10 females. Although, I expect it's more than that due to the time it takes to get diagnosed.
So, if you don't know then this is a really basic way to describe what Endo is. When you have your period, you bleed internally as well as externally. This causes tissues similar to the lining of the womb to grow in other places such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes. This tissue sticks things together and causes chronic pain.
The main problem with this disease is that no-one knows how to help you because there has not been enough investment and research put into it. Why? I have no idea. Particularly when millions suffer with this. There's hope that more is being done. There was A BBC piece on it last year which helped raise more awareness. The more we talk about it, the more people will listen.
Let me tell you a bit about my journey.
My Mum had endo. Not as bad as mine, but she had it. There's mixed views on whether it is hereditary. But I think it's fair to say that you're more likely to get it when it runs in the family.
I started my period when I was only Eleven. From day one, I had excruciating pain. Pain that no-one could understand. I would be violently sick and crippled over for days. This was extremely hard for a child to understand. Throughout the years I was rushed to hospital countless times, being tested for all sorts because no-one knew what was wrong with me. I clearly remember my 30 min school walk sometimes taking me up to 2 hours when I was on my period because I had to stop every few minutes to curl up in a ball on the pavement. Another time, I just managed to call my Mum seconds before throwing up all over myself and fainting in the middle of the high street. The pain was, and is horrendous.
It took 9 years for me to be diagnosed. By this time I was 20, and living at Uni in Kingston. A lovely GP saw the signs and referred me to the Gynaecologist. From there it took 12 months for me to have my first laparoscopy. A Laparoscopy is an operation performed in the abdomen or pelvis using small incisions with the aid of a camera. A few small cuts are made in the abdomen and the surgeon is able to see the endometriosis through the camera. They can then temporarily remove cysts and masses caused by the disease. I say temporarily as 90% of the time, it all grows back after a few months. There is no cure. However, for many a laparoscopy can relieve the pain, so is def worth having if it's advised. There’s a 1-2 week recovery time after as it leaves you feeling tender and sore, but nothing too major. And like I said, if it can give you a few months or years of relief, it's worth it.
After the op they discovered I had Stage 4, this is the worse version of the disease. They suggested I be put through a fake menopause called Zoladex to try and realign my body and my cycle. I agreed. It was shit. For 6 months, at 21, I had to have a monthly injection to suppress production of the sex hormones. I had hot flushes, mood swings and all the other side effects that come with the Menopause. They stopped it after the 6 months and it helped with the pain for about a year. But i've always wondered what damage it caused to my body. From that day I swore never to take the pill again. I didn't want to suppress my body from doing it's thing. That was a choice that was very specific to me. I don't regret it one bit. Excess Hormones really effect me, and being able to live my life is more important to me. Everyone is individual and if the pill or the coil work for you, like they do for many, then you should always, always do what's best for you.
Since then I've had 5-6 laparoscopy's. I honestly can't remember which. I've tried everything, everything. The only thing that helped was exercise. That may sound crazy as exercise can also be a trigger. I discovered that running and HIIT was a no go. Basically anything with a jumping action. Swimming and Yoga became my go-to and my sanctuary. Spin is also a passion, although there's been many a time when I feel the wave of pain coming and I just have to keep going through it. I'm lucky to have a strong mind and I won't ever let this bitch of a disease beat me.
I get asked about my positive energy all the time. I've always been like this. I love life and live it to the best of my ability. Of course I have days where I just want to stay in bed all day, and sometimes I do just that. But one thing I learnt after 26 years of having this diseases, is that it can get to you. So don't let it.
Just a few other points I want to make before I talk to you about the thing that has actually helped me.
1-Hot water bottles and baths are a big help. I travel with a HWB. If you suffer with pain, never go on hols or a work trip without one.
2-Excruciating period pain is NOT NORMAL. If you suffer from this and have not been diagnosed, go to your GP. Insist that you want to be referred to a Gynaecologist. Make sure they know how much this is effecting your life. NEVER think that your pain isn't enough to get help. If you say its bad, then it's bad.
3-Not everyone understands. In the past, i've been told that 'You must just have a low pain threshold'. No Karen! I have an extremely HIGH pain threshold thank you very much. If I say I'm in pain then i’m in SERIOUS pain. I rarely say I'm in pain if its 7/10 or below. So you know I mean it when I say it.
4-Yes, Endo can effect fertility. Do I want to talk about that side of it? No. So please don't ask. And NEVER EVER ask any woman if they're pregnant or want kids. It's not your business and you have no idea what they could be going through.
5-You don't have to be on your period to be in pain. Sometimes mine's worse when i'm ovulating. It's worth downloading an app to track your cycle, mainly so you know when you may be in pain. I use Glow.
6-Sometimes painkillers are the only option. I really try not to take them. Like I said, hot water bottles and baths really help me. As does some good old deep breathing. Seriously, there's a reason why breathing techniques are taught to pregnant women. It seriously helps. If you do need to take painkillers, always read the instructions and side effects, and never take more than the recommended dose.
Ok, so as most of you may know. In January I decided to do a mega 3 month detox with the guidance of my friend and Wellbeing therapist, Marie Reynolds.
After an appointment with Marie she suggested the detox to try and rebalance my body. This is explained better in the video below. Honestly, this whole thing has changed my life. I have never felt stronger, had more energy, been in as little pain, or had as little bloating. For me, Marie has really changed my life. Now as we say in the video, everyone is different, you should ALWAYS get advice from your GP first. So here it is, the video explaining what i did, how Marie helped, and the results I saw.
I truly hope this helps anyone suffering in some way. And please share it with friends and families members who may be suffering
To contact Marie please email email@example.com
Please don't DM her as she won't be able to keep track.
Her website is www.mariereynoldslondon.com
One more thing, just remember, you're not alone. There's a lot of us suffering BUT you can always reach out to me. Please share any tips you have below. The site I use won't let me respond to the below comments, but I read them all and your words can help others.
Love & lipstick,
I found the first image on Grazia UK. Artist unknown.