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Techniques to Live Well with Endometriosis

Create an endometriosis toolkit to help manage the persistent, debilitating pain associated with the condition.

| March/April 2019

Photo by Getty Images/LaylaBird

Writer’s note: I use the word “women” in this piece to reference people who can have endometriosis, but I understand it isn’t 100 percent inclusive, and inclusion is important. Endometriosis also affects some transgender, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming people.

People don’t generally get excited to talk about the symptoms of their incurable illness, but mine is one of my favorite topics. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t lead with it when I meet a new person at a party, or accost people on the street with this information. But I do jump at the chance if I even get a whiff of someone showing interest in my stage 4 endometriosis.

I’m not excited to share because the symptoms are fun and exciting — they’re not — but because the information is an opportunity to change someone’s life. Although 1 in 10 women suffer from endometriosis, many have never heard the word before, let alone know the symptoms. Before we dive deeper into symptoms and treatment options, let’s talk about what exactly endometriosis is.

Endometriosis is a disorder where the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus grows on the outside. It usually involves the ovaries, bowel, or the tissue lining the pelvis, though sometimes it can spread beyond the pelvic region. During a menstrual cycle, this displaced tissue thickens, breaks down, and bleeds. Because the tissue has no way to exit the body, it becomes trapped. This can lead to cyst formation, adhesions, and pain.

As I mentioned, about 1 in 10 women have endometriosis. That’s an estimated 176 million worldwide. With that staggering number, there must be an amazing system in place to educate about, diagnose, and treat endometriosis. Right?

3/12/2019 9:33:19 AM

3 doctors, 1 nurse practitioner, 2 exploratory surgerys over a 9 year period of time to finally be diagnosed at the age of 24. At the age of 24 I told my ob/gyn to just take it out and end my misery. He wouldn't, but he did take me seriously and found out what was wrong with me. His wife had endo on the same level as mine so he had a lot of compassion for me and what I was going through. For those who question the diet route, it does work. After just 1 month on a diet, similar to Jessica's diet, I was able to drive myself to church on the first day to play handbells. Driving at anytime in the 7 day cycle was something I had not been able to do for over 20 years. Even riding in a moving vehicle made the cramps worse.

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