Endometriosis Awareness month
What is endometriosis?
The endometrium is the inner-most layer of the uterus. Endometriosis is when tissue that is similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside of it usually on organs in the pelvis but it can in some cases extend beyond that.
These endometriosis cells may start to grow and form patches or nodules on pelvic organs or on the inside lining of the abdomen and pelvis. They have the same cyclical/menstrual changes outside the uterus as inside the uterus and they may bleed at the same time as your period (menstruation).
Endometriosis cells found outside the uterus grow to form lesions or patches that bleed and leak fluid in response to your hormones at the time of your period. These patches of endometriosis cells found outside the uterus cannot pass out of your body and remain in your pelvic cavity, on organs and other surfaces. All this leads to inflammation and scarring.
This can result in the following symptoms; painful periods, heavy or irregular bleeding during periods, pain with sex, pain with bowel movements or urination, pain in pelvic area, lower back or legs, nausea, fatigue, diarrhoea or constipation and infertility. Some people experience symptoms only around their period and some have them all the time. Some people can have a small amount of symptoms and a lot of endo while others can have a small amount of endo and more severe symptoms. Everyone’s experiences endo a little differently and everyone’s experience is valid.
There is no cure but there are treatments for management of symptoms and more and more Health Care Professionals that are able to help. You need to find the right fit for you. You can check out qendo.org.au and endometriosisaustralia.org for more information on treatments and speak to your doctor.
A personal message from our CEO and Sexologist, Jodie West
Endometriosis awareness month aka March is always a month of mixed emotions for me. Growing up pain and periods just went together & the older I got the worse they got, a family curse. I’ve had people tell me that it is part of being a woman, have some pain killers & you will be fine, having a baby will make it go away, I even had a doctor do an internal on one of the worst days of my period & tell me my endo wasn’t that bad but he would operate if I really wanted him too. The amount of pain he caused almost made me throw up right there & he made me think i was exaggerating. I’ve had more surgeries than I care to mention, ivf, emergency room trips & countless days lost in the haze of a pain storm & literal bloody nightmare. I’ve crawled to the bathroom on more than one occasion because I couldn’t stand, I’ve thrown up from pain more times than I care to remember.
I got to the point where I started a page called endometriosis awareness through art because I needed a voice & art can speak for you when you have no words. That was how I met Donna Cicca and we cofounded Endometriosis Australia. I no longer serve on the board but I am proud of the work I did in its creation. It has gone on to be the catalyst for changing the conversation about endometriosis in Australia.
For years I made so much noise during March but then let it slip for awhile. I guess I needed a rest. This March I’m going to step back up & make some noise. Not affiliated with any charity although I’ve worked with two. Just sharing some pictures & stories. But NOT for sympathy or for the comments or likes. I only ask one thing PLEASE HEAR & HELP those in your life no matter how old or young they are when they have period pain. DO NOT DISMISS it or play it down as just a bad period. Acknowledge their pain & ask how you can help.
Trust me you will know someone, 1 in 10 people with ovaries/vulvas have endo. So stop a minute & think about how many people that is in your life.
Ask how you can HELP.