The Endometriosis Symptoms That Have the Biggest Impact on a Couple’s Lives
Jessica has endometriosis, and Chris is her partner. Together they find ways to manage the condition and support each other through its challenges. Below they discuss the endometriosis symptoms that have the biggest impact on their lives:
Jessica, what symptom has the biggest impact on your day-to-day life, and in what way?
From Jessica: That’s actually a difficult one as things have changed so much over the past few years. Now I wouldn’t say my problems are directly from endometriosis itself, but from the associated conditions such as interstitial cystitis and SIBO. We know from research that these conditions can affect up to 80% of endo patients, so I think it’s fair to consider their symptoms alongside endo symptoms!
It’s really my bladder pain that has the biggest impact at present. It’s with me 24/7 and affects my sleep and how I feel and function on a daily basis. Every week, I have a night or a few where I only manage to get a couple hours sleep, if any at all.
Up until recently, fatigue was a problem again, which was linked to my histamine and allergy issues. Endo is associated with a significantly higher prevalence of allergies and I’ve become very ill with mine in the past 18 months, though thankfully we’ve recently been able to get on top of it to a degree. Up until this late change with my symptoms, the fatigue was bone crushing and Chris had to do the bulk of household responsibilities.
Does this affect your relationships?
From Jessica: Yes I think so, but I think Chris is very accepting and caring, and so I think if I had a different partner, things would be harder. Chris gets on with the cleaning, cooking, etc. without ever complaining that the share of chores and responsibilities are so unevenly split, though I am constantly aware of that and feel guilty. Just to be clear, I don’t believe I should be doing these chores because I’m a woman, I actually believe in us sharing these equally, but I haven’t been able to do so much of that recently.
It also affects our sex lives as there’s never a time when I don’t have bladder pain or discomfort, which can make the idea of sex not very appealing. I also find that I’m so tired by the end of the day, even if I do want sex my body just doesn’t have the energy to try!
Chris, do you agree with this?
From Chris: Yea mostly, although I don’t agree that Jess should feel guilty about the chores split! It’s a kind of arrangement we haven’t really intentionally thought about, but the quality of both of our lives is improved from it. I can take on some more responsibilities and Jess can focus more on work and being well.
I also think it’s worth pointing out that it’s not just Jess’ relationship with me that this affects. The fatigue and poor-quality sleep also have an impact on her relationships with friends and family. Plans get pushed back, rearranged and cancelled after a bad night’s sleep, so it isn’t only our relationship that gets affected.
What other symptoms do you feel have a big impact on your life together?
From Chris: As Jess mentioned about, she’s gotten on top of most of them expect for her bladder pain, which then leads on to the fatigue.
I guess I’d say that the actual management of these symptoms has the biggest impact. Cutting certain foods out of her diet, strict sleep hygiene – these kind of lifestyle changes have had a huge impact on how we live our lives, but big changes have led to big results so it’s definitely worth it!
Do you know what your endometriosis phenotype is?