I thought my pain was normal.

Last updated: August 2018

I was diagnosed with Stage II endometriosis when I was in my early 30's. My doctor performed a laparoscopy and found endo lesions on my ovaries and removed a chocolate cyst the size of a grapefruit. But it took me almost 20 years to get a diagnosis.
When I first got my period, I remember my mom giving me ibuprofen and a heating pad. I was doubled over in pain. I couldn't walk. I couldn't stand up straight. I couldn't move. I could barely breathe. I missed school every month. Since I'd never known any differently, I thought everyone went through this when they got their period. I thought my pain was normal.

I thought my bloated belly, despite only weighing 110 lbs at the time, was stubborn fat. I thought that everyone had heavy bleeding with their periods. I thought every woman got chronic UTIs. I thought that every woman experienced some level of pain with intercourse. I thought my pain was normal. After all, I'd never known it any other way.

My doctors always dismissed my complaints and just prescribed stronger pain relievers. But as I got older, my pelvic area started to ache constantly - not just during my period. I was constantly fatigued and no amount of sleep helped. I learned by chance that my aunt had also had endometriosis - and had a hysterectomy. With this new information, I found a new doctor. But, despite being one of the top gynecologists in the area, he was incredibly dismissive and belittling. So, I found another doctor. This time I went to a fertility specialist/surgeon. At my first appointment, he said, "Well, I think this has gone on long enough. I suspect endometriosis. Let's schedule you for surgery."

That was almost 15 years ago. I'm really fortunate in that the removal of the endo lesions has brought me a tremendous amount of relief. While my periods are still painful, they are manageable with a heating pad. Eliminating dairy from my diet has also helped me quite a bit.

So, be persistent. Advocate for yourself. Don't let anyone dismiss you. Your pain is real. And being in pain is NOT normal.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

Join the conversation

or create an account to comment.

Community Poll

What's in your emergency endo kit?