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It’s *Probably* Endometriosis

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.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Endometriosis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • CDhas endo
    2 months ago

    Hi,
    I just wrote about my recent experiences that sound very similar to what you are experiencing. I’ve been having this unexplained pain on my left side for almost seven months now. A team of doctors have done sonograms, ultrasounds, a pap smear and a colonoscopy. I’m having a laparoscopy next. I was persistent with questions and asking for tests to help find an answer. When one test came back normal, I asked what was next. I finally received the right response from the right ob/gyn. She told me that I knew my body better than anyone and she felt that after all the exams and tests I have already had, a laparoscopy was in order. A good ob/gyn with knowledge in infertility really helps. Good luck.

  • Jessie Madrigal moderator
    2 months ago

    Hi @kate, thanks for sharing your story with us and reaching out. It sounds like you’ve been through so much. The issue with having or not having endometriosis is that it can only be properly diagnosed through a laparoscopy. Any tests based on imaging may prove fruitless because some adhesions occur at deeper levels, or are hidden behind organs, which makes them impossible to see through any scans.

    The symptoms you describe sound similar to mine. I lived with them for years before anyone could tell me what they were…. and until my laparoscopy I got no answers.

    Is it possible for you to find an endometriosis specialist? Forums like Nancy’s Nook allow to search for specialists on this disease, and that could may be the next positive step for you.

    Please don’t give up hope. You have found this community already, and this is already a good thing. We have heaps of information on this disease and similar “sister” ones, and our community is full of very helpful people who are happy to share their experiences and what worked for them. Please reach out to us whenever you need – Jessie (team member)

  • Kate author
    2 months ago

    Hi Jessie, thanks for your helpful response to this and to my other question on laparoscopies as well. I’m going to get another opinion from another GYN next week, I’ll ask her about specialists and be sure to check out that forum, too. I think joining this community and checking out other people’s stories will help me maintain a more positive mindset. Thanks again!

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