Hi everyone. Thanks for all your comments and please keep them coming. Tell us your coping mechanisms and how they help you to live a normal life.
A quick overview of endometriosis-
According to the NHS choices website, endometriosis is a condition in which small pieces of endometrium( womb lining) are found outside the womb; this could be in the fallopian tubes, ovaries, bladder, bowel, vagina or rectum. It is a long term chronic condition that causes painful or heavy periods. It oftens causes pain in the lower abdomen, pelvis or lower back. It may also lead to to lack of energy, depression and fertility problems. The causes are not fully known but there are several theories. The most common theory is that the womb lining does not leave the body properly during a period and embeds itself onto the organs of the pelvis. Doctors refer to this as retrograde menstration. Normally before a period, the hormone oestrogen causes the endometrium to thicken to receive a fertilised egg. If the egg isn’t fertilised, the lining breaks down and leaves the body as menstrual body i.e period. Endometriosis cells anywhere on the body behave the same way as if they are in the womb so every month, they grow during the menstrual cycle and bleed but they DO NOT LEAVE the body hence this leads to pain, swelling, damage to ovaries and fallopian tubes causing fertility problems.
There is no known cure for endometriosis but it can be managed with surgery, healthy diet and hormone treatments.Pregnancy sometimes reduces the symptoms but the condition might return once the menstrual cycle returns to normal. In the UK, around 2 million women are affected and most of them were diagnosed between the ages of 25-40. . In Africa esp Nigeria, very little is known about this disease and hence, not a lot of awareness and a lot of women are suffering in silence. According to a clinical gynaecologist and fertility expert, Dr Ajayi of Nordica Fertility Centre Lagos, diagnosis is made worse in Nigeria because it is believed to be uncommon amongst black people and some women have no symptoms. A former Miss Nigeria and model, Nike Oshinowo only recently told of her experience with the disease which she has been battling since the age of 13.
I got my first period at 14 and it was highly irregular. However, the doctors told me back home then in Nigeria that it will regulate itself in time. I was placed on the pill at 20 and l had a regular period for many years so l assumed everything was fine since l didn’t have any pain. My gynaecologist here said it’s possible the condition started then and could have been treated better if diagnosed early. This chronic disease needs more awareness and support to help the younger generation of women so they wouldn’t have to go through the horror that some of us are now facing because dealing with chronic pain and infertility is one of the worst things a woman of child bearing age can ever go through.
Thanks for reading.