It’s *Probably* Endometriosis

Last updated: September 2019

I’ve had a long and annoying history of reproductive health issues. I got my first period at 9, I’m now 22. I’ve always had painful and heavy periods. On some months, I’ll get a bout of cramps so bad that I’m doubled over for about 30-60 minutes, and have had to grip onto someone for support to walk when this happens, (the thought that always runs through my head- “is this what labor pains feel like?”). Before learning more about endometriosis, I thought these type of cramps were something that some women just inexplicably dealt with.

My experience with birth control

I have had success on the pill before, lighter periods, less mood swings. However, I found out because I get migraines with aura, I can’t be on estrogen because it increases your risk of having a stroke. I tried several types of progestin only methods for about two years, then stopped because my periods became so irregular and they did not alleviate the cramping much anyway.

I stopped taking any form of birth control a year and a half ago. Since stopping, the cramps are back in full swing, and some months mentally are a real challenge. I am more prone to panic attacks and depressed moods the week before and during my period.

A new symptom arose

I’ve been coping with all of this in different ways, but three months ago, a new symptom came up that is incredibly challenging for me. I feel like I’m at the end of my rope. So it was several days after my period ended, a time when I normally have no cramps, that I got a pain in my lower left side. After five days of this, I went to the doctor. A urinalysis showed a UTI, and an ultrasound showed no cysts or any other issues. So I took antibiotics, but the pain persisted. It didn’t feel like a UTI either, I never had burning or the urge to go often. Just lower left abdominal pain, (also I know appendicitis can occasionally be felt on the left side, but I had my appendix removed already). I went to a gyn, told her all of this, including my history of debilitating cramps, and she said it “didn’t seem gynecological.”

Several more weeks, the pain persisted. I felt cramps all over my abdomen during my period, but always stronger on the left side. I went to another gyn for another opinion. He said it was LIKELY endometriosis and recommended an IUD, but I do not want to be on bc again after the struggles I’ve had on it before. I had a cat scan done, it showed nothing. I saw a GI doctor to rule out anything else. All signs point to endometriosis without any definitive answer.

It’s now coming up on twelve weeks of having this pain every single day. I’m trying to take care of myself and combat it however I can, but it’s become increasingly difficult to stay positive. I know this was a long post, but I’d love to know if anyone else had a similar experience, or would have any advice to give.

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