I gave birth to 3 children (via cesarean section) and after the third child, which was my daughter I received a tubal litigation. I was 14 years ago, so I was 24 years old at the time. About 6 months after having her my stomach became swollen one day partnered with some pain. I thought maybe I did something too soon to cause the swelling and pain, so I told myself to tough it out and if I wake up the next day and nothing changes, I will head to the ER. I woke up the next day and was back to my normal self so I didn’t think anything of it. After that initial flare up it was like clock work, I would become swollen and experience pain as well as heavier bleeding every time my monthly cycle came around.

I knew something was wrong, but every time I expressed my concerns to a doctor I was told that I had children and cycles become more painful and you bleed more. Fast forward to a few years after having my last child, I began receiving even more pain in my abdomen and find out I have an endometrioma. This is when I am finally diagnosed and I have surgery to remove it. I would say this was in around 2015. After a diagnosis, I am given Ibuprofen and Tramadol and sent on my way. Through out the years my symptoms have become worse, I have experienced more symptoms and even had a partial hysterectomy to try to help alleviate the heavy bleeding because at this point I was passing large clots.

The times I went to the ER I was assessed to make sure it was nothing serious and sent on my way with more meds. Doctors have tried to give me birth control to help with hormones and it did nothing. I cannot take too many meds because they can ruin my liver. It has been years of dead end streets and here I am today, with more symptoms, searching for help, and not feeling like the young woman I am because of my condition. Symptoms I have developed over time are painful sex, fatigue, pain using the restroom, nausea, I no longer have a cycle so no heavy bleeding, painful flareups, and endo belly. Flareup pain feels like a constant throbbing, stabbing, burning pain. When I defecate at times (sorry if this is tmi) I have to hold my vagina area with my hand because there is so much pin and pressure I feel like my insides are going to come out. I have sat in the bath tub and cried because I want to save my family the heartache and I am too young to feel like this and have dealt with it for so many years.

Flareups will hit you out of nowhere. I was at my niece’s kickball games and as I am sitting in the bleachers I get a sudden burst of stabbing pain in my vagina area. I could barely walk to the car and drive home. My daughter ran inside to get my husband to help me out of the car and inside. Eventually, I begin to become depressed. Endo has stopped me from being as active in my life as I would like, it has stripped me of my confidence due to the endo belly and clothes not fitting or me not liking how I look during these times. Flare ups are random and last almost two weeks at times. I have an appointment with a doctor in Houston to try a surgery that should remove some endo and adhesions.

Hopefully, this will help with my symptoms because at this point I would try anything. I just want to feel normal. Endo has extended to my relationships. Because I am mostly in pain, I snap at people because I am just not feeling well. I try to remind myself that this is why I am irritable, but it truly is hard to just be happy and not become frustrated. I struggle to go to work many days. People can tell I am in pain because I waddle around due to the excruciating pain. If I did not need the money, I would stay home on those days. I have noticed my diet affects my flareups. I have food allergies and if I set those off, it will cause a flare up so I try to eat healthier. I used to go to the gym but I don’t waste my time anymore because I cannot even be consistent due to my random flare ups. When I was going to the gym, I was unable to do any midsection exercises because I would wake up sore and a flare up would happen after.

I believe a big misconception people have about endo is it is not as painful as people express. Many of us try to smile and forge through the pain leading others to believe it is not that bad. In reality, we live in pain. We are able to hide the pain in moments when it is possible, but deep down we want to scream. I have to catch my breath many times because the pain is so bad and I don’t dare to cough or sneeze during a flare up because it literally feels like an organ busts inside me. My hope is for someone to find a cure or ways to improve the condition for women to a point we can live a somewhat comfortable life again where we are not constantly in pain. If you suspect you have endo and a doctor tells you otherwise, but you know something is not right, fight for yourself. Go to another doctor if your current doctor does not want to believe you. Speak up and advocate for your treatment because you deserve better!

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