The Bloody Truth About Endometriosis
My name is Tess Olson and I have a chronic illness. When I was twenty years old, I was diagnosed with Endometriosis, six years after I got my first period. Endometriosis occurs when the lining of the uterus grows in other places, such as your fallopian tubes, your ovaries, the outside of your uterus, and on your abdominal organs. This can cause problems with fertility, severe cramping, back pain, longer periods lasting more than seven days, heavy menstrual flow, migraines, and pain during sexual activities.
Anything that can make a period worse than it already is, endometriosis will do it.
There were days in high school where I would wake up in so much pain and I would cry to my mom, begging her to let me stay home from school, and she would, which was great but also horrible, because I still didn’t know why I was experiencing this pain. I went to my pediatrician and she prescribed me Naproxen, which is basically Aleve. This helped, but didn’t solve the problem.
Fast forward to my junior year of college when I finally got an answer. I took a survey with my gynecologist, then went in and got my laparoscopy. They removed the scar tissue and put me on a continuous pill that would prevent me from getting my period anymore. It’s like the birth control pill, but I’ll never stop taking it. This is great because I don’t get my period except for the times I forget to take it and then I’ll get the cramping, and I’ll get the back pain, but then something that’s entirely new to me that I never experienced before is the migraines. Oh my god, they are terrible. Last summer, my best friend from summer got married and I was so excited, but I forgot to take my pill. So, I got a migraine, and while everyone was outside celebrating and having so much fun, I was inside in a dark room, suffering in pain.
I wanted to talk about this for girls who are going through what I went through. I want you to know that the pain you are experiencing is not normal for a period. You should not be experiencing that. Go to your gynecologist and tell them something is not right. They will be able to help you. Maybe you have endometriosis, maybe you have something else, but you need to tell someone. You can talk to me, I am so willing to help. You are not alone: you have me, you have Hannah, you have the entire Chronically Capable community, and we are all here for you.
As women, we are used to the monthly visit from the hormone monster, wreaking havoc on our mood, energy, and our day-to-day life. However, for some women, the pain experienced during their menstrual cycle is amplified, and actually caused by a chronic illness known as endometriosis. An estimated 1 in 10 women in the United States suffer with endometriosis, and more often than not, it goes undiagnosed. Women who suffer from endometriosis and have a job outside the home know all too well how many days each month they have to force ourselves to get out of bed and go to work. You are not alone! Here are some different resources for women struggling to balance their endometriosis and job simultaneously:
- Work and Endometriosis
- Getting Through an Endo Flare- Up at Work
- How to Have a Job & Endometriosis
- How to Work With Endometriosis