A woman lying on her side, twisted up to imply pain

Endometriosis: Not Just Bad Periods

If I had a dime for every time I heard, “Oh, you have endometriosis? Isn’t that just bad periods?”, I would probably have more money than Oprah. It’s really difficult for me not to just fly off the handle right there. But it is with great effort that I compose myself and deliver the following response:

No, Sally, it isn’t just bad periods. It is SO much more.

It’s fatigue

Not just "I’m tired" fatigue. I’m talking "I don’t think I can even open my eyes, much less stand up" kind of fatigue. This fatigue cannot be fixed by taking a nap. It can’t be cured with a good night’s sleep. I’m talking bone deep, world weary, don’t leave the house for a week level fatigue. It is a kind of fatigue that those without it can rarely comprehend.

It’s chronic pelvic pain

Yes, most women experience some level of pelvic pain, particularly during or just before their periods. However, those of us with endometriosis know that the pain doesn’t stop there. Pelvic cramping and pain can exist at any time, coming or going, or remain constant for anywhere from a month to eternity. It hurts to walk. It hurts to sit. Heck, some days it even hurts to poop.

It’s struggles with infertility

One possible complication of endometriosis is infertility. Having endometriosis can make it difficult to get pregnant or carry a baby to full term. This is often because of the scar tissue that forms as a result of the growth of the tissue outside of the uterus. When you struggle with fertility, there are a whole multitude of additional complications, both physical and mental.

It’s migraines

I had no idea what I migraine even was prior to my sophomore year of high school. In hindsight, it should have been no big surprise that it timed nicely with my monthly visit from Aunt Flo. Talk about a double whammy. As if the period pain, nausea, and bleeding weren’t enough, now we had to throw in black spots, headaches, and dizziness, just for fun?

It’s pain during (and even after) sex

Sex is supposed to be fun, not painful. It can be difficult to look forward to that type of “fun” when you are worried about how bad it might hurt. Leave it to endometriosis to take something fun, and turn it into a real bummer. Painful sex can lead to a multitude of relationship and self-esteem issues. "Is it you?" "Is it me?" "Heck, I don’t know. I don’t want to talk about it."

It’s a greater risk for things like autoimmune conditions, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer

No only does endometriosis come with all these great prizes, it comes with a whole assortment of add-ons and upgrades. (Tell ‘em what they’ve won!) Well, endo has a pretty big (and growing) list of comorbidities including autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, and allergies, and asthma. Not to mention the increased risk of developing various forms of cancer, such as ovarian or breast.

So spread the word, Sally. It’s not just bad periods. It is SO much more.

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