Ladies Only - Endometriosis, Nasty Pain and Surgery

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

I've posted quite a lot about my health issues over the years - both physical and emotional - but I don't think I've ever mentioned my diagnosis with Endometriosis.  This is probably because it falls into the category of "ladies problems", and therefore seems somehow inappropriate to go shouting from the rooftops!  However - being that this is something that's front and center in my mind at the moment - I think it's something I would like to talk about.

In the interest of full disclosure (especially if you are of the male species), this will be a post about "lady problems", and maybe a little bit TMI for some!  So please feel free to skip over this one if you're not so keen on reading all the girly details.

Early last year - after complaining to my doctor about some severe pain I had been having for a while - I was referred to see a gynecologist.  After a very unpleasant examination, an extremely painful internal ultrasound, and a laporoscopy at the Royal Women's Hospital in Melbourne, I was given the diagnosis of severe Endometriosis.  I also had a large cyst on one of my ovaries, which was removed during the laporoscopy (surgery to diagnose and treat issues such as Endometriosis).

The diagnosis didn't come as shock to me by any means, as I had always suspected that was what it would be.  I knew others who had suffered with Endo, and I seemed to have all the classic symptoms.

The usual, "text book" symptoms that women experience include sharp, stabbing pains in the vagina and pelvic area, pain when using the bathroom (in either or both the bladder and bowel), painful and heavy periods, pain during sex, and just general discomfort in those areas.

Once I had recovered from the surgery, I found that most of the symptoms went away, and I felt a lot better overall.  I went straight back on the pill afterwards, as the doctors advised that this would help to suppress the Endo, and would hopefully mean that it wouldn't come back as quickly.  They told me it would be likely to recur with 2-3 years.

For the past few months, I have been experiencing an increasing amount of pain again.  It has only been a year since I had the laporoscopy, so I initially assumed it couldn't possibly be the Endometriosis coming back already.  But after seeing my doctor this week, and explaining to her how much pain I've been having, she tells me it's a pretty safe bet that the Endo does in fact need to be dealt with again.  So it's back to the gynecologist for me (the earliest appointment I could get is in July), to most likely go through the treatment process again.

I have an extreme amount of anxiety when it comes to this!  Not so much because of the operation - but because of the examinations!  These were extremely painful for me, due to the position and amount of Endometriosis I had, and ever since, I have been terrified of anything to do with anyone examining me "down there"!  So of course my anxiety is at an all time high at the moment, anticipating my appointment in July.  I honestly don't know how I will cope if I have to go through that entire, painful - not to mention intrusive - ordeal again!  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'll be able to skip that part and go straight to the laporoscopy - however I don't know how realistic that hope is.

The thing that scares me the most though, is the thought that this may affect my chances of having children.  My doctor has told me, now that I've hit my 30's, I can't afford to waste too much more time.  If the Endo continues to keep coming back so quickly, my chances of having a baby will decrease more and more as I get older.

So, it's time to get serious!  This year I intend to get married (after the world's longest engagement), become financially comfortable, get this Endo sorted out again, and then most importantly - get pregnant!  At least, that's the plan...

There are so many women who suffer with Endometriosis, and there are so many varying degrees of it - some women don't need to have treatment at all, and for others it can be devastating.  But, as with anything, if you are experiencing symptoms that you think could be Endo, definitely go and have it checked out sooner rather than later.

I hope this post will be of some help to anyone who either has, or thinks they may have Endometriosis.  I'd love to hear from you if you have your own experience to share x
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