I want young girls and women to know more about this condition so they don’t have to suffer in silence. I also want to help men understand it, so they can have those conversations with their daughters, wives, colleagues and friends.”
Leah, 45, Philippines
“I have stage 4 endometriosis. I was diagnosed after my first laparoscopy at the age of 37. It had gotten worse after my pregnancy in my early thirties. For me, the biggest misconception is that period pain is normal. Any ongoing and unexplained pain during one’s period is not normal and should not be dismissed, especially if your quality of life is impacted. Other misconceptions are that pregnancy can cure endo and a hysterectomy can ‘treat’ it. Surgery has been most beneficial to me. I ended up with a segmental bowel resection, which required both gynecologist and colorectal surgeons’ expertise to help remove the disease.”
Emilia Victoria, 26, Australia
“After 11 years of pain, horrible symptoms and unanswered questions, I was finally diagnosed with endometriosis at the age of 24 via laparoscopy and excision surgery. Endometriosis has affected my pregnancy journey—I was extremely blessed to conceive our miracle baby. You can do everything right and still not feel well. You can eat healthily, do yoga, make lifestyle changes and still have a flare-up or other medical conditions that are linked with endo—that is the unpredictability of this condition.”
Joanna Fazlie Colomas, 26, France
“My diagnosis with stage 4 endometriosis was confirmed via laparoscopy surgery in 2018, but I knew I had it when I was 14. It’s a very tough condition that is specific to each woman. For me, I’m full of it (bones, joints, organs) from my sternum to my rectum, my entire urinary system is blocked and I wouldn’t be able to pee without the ureteral stent that was put in me. My kidneys don’t work properly, my entire digestive system is infested and the adherences between my reproductive system and all the organs around it means my body works very weirdly and I don’t stop ovulating, even with drugs.”
Jamie Nipp, 34, US
“I was diagnosed at the age of 31. My husband and I went to see a fertility doctor after trying to conceive for over a year. One of the biggest misconceptions is that endometriosis is just in your reproductive system (uterus and ovaries). It can affect so many different organs and systems of the body. For example, I have severe bowel endometriosis, which explains my food allergies, irritable bowel symptoms, chronic bloating and painful/difficult bowel movements. Endometriosis can be found in the intestines, liver, diaphragm and sciatic nerve. Your loved ones want to help you, but you’re in this massive fog. In turn, this creates tension and distance in your relationships.”
Wendy Laidlaw, 50, UK
“My mum recognized my symptoms as similar to her endometriosis and took me to a gynecologist where I was diagnosed with the disease at 11 or 12. After 33 years of endometriosis, I was able to put it into remission naturally. I recovered through nutritional therapy, psychology, and psychotherapy.
We have had three generations of endometriosis patients in the family. My mother went through a hysterectomy, however, and all her endometriosis symptoms came back. I, on the other hand, have healed and so has my daughter. Although doctors suspected that endometriosis runs in families, if you look at my mother’s case, she is the only one who has it out of three other siblings.”
If you think that you might be showing symptoms of endometriosis, contact your doctor. International and local support groups are also listed here.