This post sponsored by SheKnows Media
Did you know March was Endometriosis awareness month? No? Well, don’t feel out of the loop, I didn’t either and I have been suffering from endometriosis for nearly three decades. As someone who suffers from this chronic disease, I think it speaks volumes that I didn’t know about the many resources (beyond my GYN’s office) that were so easily accessible to me. I attended an Wine + Gyn event presented by SheKnows Media and HelloFlo and the night was a catalyst that sparked new friendships, opened me up to a world of support I didn’t know existed and reminded me of the empowered woman that defines my very core.
Endometriosis, en-doh-me-tree-OH-sis, (try spelling it! on every medical form!) is a chronic and painful disease that affects about 1 in 10 women of reproductive age. It occurs when tissue that acts a lot like the lining of your uterus-called endometrium-starts growing outside of your uterus, where it doesn’t belong. The lesions can grow on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and other areas around the pelvis. www.speakendo.com It is treatable, that is, once it is diagnosed! The foreign growths (sometimes called lesions or implants), can cause severe (long-term) pain and inflammation throughout the month. Estrogen makes the lesions grow. The lesions can then bleed and break down, causing painful, often unbearable symptoms. I have missed my share of exams, parties, wedding showers and other special events because my symptoms caused by endometriosis were too much to bear.
There are some common symptoms of endometriosis, and you can read all about them at SpeakEndo.com. Of course, making an appointment to speak with your GYN about your symptoms and how they affect your daily activities is necessary to put you on the path to dealing with your condition.
I was diagnosed with endometriosis when I was 15. I was at a high school pep rally and I was about to lead my sophomore class onto the floor when I collapsed in pain. Through various medical procedures such as ultrasound, as well as a laparoscopic surgery, it was determined that I did indeed have endometriosis. For years, I suffered in silence. I was embarrassed, felt alone and fearful of what my future would hold. In many ways, I am one of the lucky ones because I got the proper care. I had a compassionate, competent physician. I was diagnosed and treated early, and the endometriosis did not affect my fertility as was once predicted. Endometriosis is hereditary. My aunt also suffers from this chronic illness.
The Wine+ Gyn event was all about empowerment. A panel of three women shared their battle with chronic illness, spoke to their rise to power over their own body and discussed their struggles, and triumphs of their journey. To sit in a room full of women discussing their own health and joining together to arm themselves with information to either make the stand to share their story and advocate for better solutions to their chronic health issues or decide to support women like them to make sure another woman doesn’t suffer in silence was like being enveloped in a long-awaited hug.
I loved when April Christina (endoNme.com) shared, “Drop the shame, don’t feel embarrassed about your pain”. Empower yourself to take control over your chronic illness – ask questions, dive into support groups, seek out social media networks. We are all here to support, listen and to guide one another.
All opinions expressed are our own.