This is not the most appropriate topic to discuss and may classify under TMI–too much info, not TMZ, but anyway. I have been thinking actively about what this means and how it affects me physically. It’s a mess. I don’t know the exact percentage of women who experience this, and I especially don’t want to find out the number of women in the third world countries who suffer from this without means to help themselves, but I will say this: endometriosis is a bitch. Firstly, though, what is it? To summarize, it’s what happens when the endometrial tissue that normally lines the uterus, takes on the life of a leech and starts growing in and on other areas of the body, and in my case, the ovaries. This means, they’re out of place, and the result is everything from terrible pain to cysts. Cysts are sacs that may grow on the ovary and inside of them are a plethora of icky things, like blood, tissue, hair, etc. Cysts are normal and usually feed on the body’s natural hormone after a woman’s menstrual cycle. They tend to disappear on their own without any disruption, unless you’re me, then they can grow to 13 cm and require surgery–laparoscopy or laparotomy.
To get back to the other symptoms of endometriosis… pain. This is what I deal with monthly. It’s more than just pain–it’s dysmenorrhea–a painful menstruation. It’s the type of pain that physically cripples you for roughly five days–two if you’re lucky. It’s nearly ineffable to describe this pain, but I’ll try. Imagine if someone grabbed all the organs in your abdomen and twisted them with the cruel intent of ripping them from your body–an impossible task. Imagine also, that someone else is sticking you with a pin from the inside out. Imagine butterflies in your stomach that turn it to jelly, and imagine excess gas as a result of bloating. Toss in nausea, dizziness and fever, and the occasional headache, and you’ve got dysmenorrhea.
It’s unpleasant, and I wish it on no one, especially not women without access to Anaprax and contraception, the only possible cure, besides oophorectomy. And I can’t help but feel like a complainer when I think of these women who experience these things without complaint. But I can’t but stress how terrible a pain and burden come with endometriosis and fibroid, too. And let’s not forget what many women may feel is the worse consequence of this disease: infertility.
The body treats these (rogue) endometrial tissues as foreign agents and increase the immune system’s defense against them; the endometrium also increases the output of prostaglandins, making fertility impossible, since the hormone is likely out of sync or appears in the wrong part of the body, and may send the wrong signal to terminate a pregnancy. Scarring or adhesions which restrict the ovaries may also render it hostile to life, or block the union of a sperm and egg. So endometriosis is terrible by all means; however, it can be cured and roughly 30-40 percent of women are diagnosed with it. Now that I am one, and now that I know it runs in my family, according to my mother, I will simply have to live with it.