This is for a number of reasons – they may be embarrassed by the details, they may feel that no-one has the time to really listen, that no-one can really comprehend, or they may think those listening believe they are exaggerating or constantly searching for a pity-party. They may have been told by their mother, “I had to put up with it, and you will just have to as well”.
In the work-place, the hesitation to share may be because it’s extremely hard to talk to managers and colleagues about the condition due to the personal nature of the disease and also because they don’t want to be perceived as ‘unproductive’ and ‘unreliable’.
The hesitation to speak up may also come from trying to explain to the doctor what they are experiencing and being told that the pain is ‘normal’ or to ‘just take pain-killers’ or ‘there is no evidence of any condition’ and then to be rushed out of the doctor’s office before their next patient.
Research is now emerging that this ‘normalisation’ of painful symptoms is a large part of the reason why it takes women with endometriosis so long to get a diagnosis. Sufferers are a key player in their endometriosis journey, but along with feeling a loss of control about what is happening in their bodies, they also feel a loss of control about the decisions being made about their bodies. Therefore, advocacy for sufferers, spreading awareness and being part of a small or larger support team is so needed – Endo Warriors need all the support they can get!
Because there is certainly nothing normal about searing, pulsating, stabbing, bearing-down, labour-like pain during your period. There is nothing normal about pain during bowel or bladder movements. There is nothing normal about a constantly bloated and distended belly. There is nothing normal about migraines, nausea and vomiting with your cycle. There is nothing normal about pain during sex. There is nothing normal about infertility.
These symptoms are sadly common now, but they are certainly not normal.
The wonderful news is that funding is now starting to come through for endometriosis research. The other good news is that we now have more health care practitioners who are understanding endo more deeply and can implement interventions more quickly. They are trying to close the gap between ignorance and disease. These health-care practitioners are from various medical disciplines as well as health-care modalities. They include gynecologists, urologists, specialist surgeons, acupuncturists, pain psychologists, pelvic physiotherapists, naturopaths, nutritionists, yoga practitioners and holistic wellness coaches. To fight this all-encompassing condition, recovery has to be all-encompassing as well. There is so much hope for a better future.
Because possessing female reproductive organs should not condemn you to a life-time of pain.
Even though it is the female race who go through the painful experience of childbirth, pain should not be synonymous with being female.