No, That is NOT Just a Normal Part of Being a Woman
Ever since I was 12 and started my period, I knew my lady parts never worked correctly. My periods were painful and irregular. I remember laying on the couch with a heating pad almost in tears and my mom “welcoming me to womanhood.” So, I dealt with it.
As the years went on, I would tell any doctor that asked that my periods were irregular unless I was taking birth control, I would tell them about my periods - no one seemed concerned. So, I dealt with it.
Over the years, I heard about endometriosis but never researched it since I thought I was “normal.”
Experiencing UTI symptoms
About 18 years later, in May 2021, I started having symptoms of a UTI - extreme pelvic pain, frequency and urgency. I went to see my primary care doc expecting a positive urine test and being sent on my way with antibiotics. It was negative and for the next 2 months I went through the ringer of imaging. The only thing that showed was uterine fibroids.
Asking the important questions
My next stop was to my OBGYN. She asked me loads of questions that didn’t seem related to my urinary problems. She had asked me some of these questions before and never seemed concerned with my answers. Then told me she thought I had endometriosis. She *very* briefly explained the cause, very a matter of factly - retrograde mensuration and said surgery was the only way to diagnose it.
Endo had spread to my bladder
I trusted her as she seemed like she knew what she talking about and had my first laparoscopy and laser a month later. I’m now a week post op. After surgery, she showed my SO pictures of the endo, which had spread to my bladder also. I have yet to see them and I’m awaiting my post visit.
It's never too late to learn
I’m embarrassed to say, I did not research endometriosis until after surgery and it’s been a terrible week coping with the fact that I have a condition that I’ll most likely deal with until menopause that is so unbelievably misunderstood.
Needless to say, after finding out my doctor gave me very outdated information about endo (along with some other red flags not mentioned) I’m now on the tedious road to finding an OBGYN that is well versed in endometriosis.
My hope for the future
I can’t help but think how my story would have gone had I known what my body should have been doing and feeling my whole life. It’s my hope that one day young woman will get proper, accurate education of their bodies and medical students and doctors were properly educated on endometriosis. 💛
Have you heard about the new tampon technology currently being tested to detect endometriosis?