‘You wouldn’t apologize if you had the flu Lynsey’ she said, as I muttered sorry for wasting my doctors time.
I had gone in to have the coil fitted, one of the best forms of contraception that is used in order to prevent endometriosis from spreading. You see, back in July, I was diagnosed with a condition called endometriosis. A condition in which the lining of the uterus grows on the other parts of the body, affected by your monthly cycle. In my case, it grows on my pelvis, bladder and stomach. This tissue is known as endometrium and it causes irritation, pain and inflammation on the parts of the body where it grows. In some serious cases, this tissue sheds, yet it has nowhere to go. This is what happened to me recently, and the pain was so severe I was admitted to hospital twice, within the space of three weeks.
So, with everything that my poor lady parts have been through over the past month, when my doctor went to put the spectrum in (gentlemen, this is an unpleasant torture device that us ladies have to endure as we are so lucky to be blessed with a vagina), I screamed. Literally, screaming noises came out of my mouth. How embarrassing.
Thank god I have the most incredible GP (Dr. D, you rock), who suggested that with everything I have been through, its best that I go under general anaesthetic to have it put in.
Sorry, I said. Over and over.
And because Dr D has no time for such nonsense, she said what is utterly and wholeheartedly true; ‘you wouldn’t apologize if you had the flu, Lynsey. You didn’t choose this, you don’t want this to be happening to you. So stop apologising for it’.
And she’s right. I’ve felt ashamed, embarrassed and that I have been an inconvenience to everyone because of my endometriosis. A condition that involves one of the biggest taboos in society.
I was actually apologising for not being able to withstand a tube with a literal beak on the end of it, poking my very inflamed and very irritated cervix.
My lady parts that have caused me to have such serious pain that I have had to be hospitalised twice, in the past month. Those same lady parts that have been enduring endometriosis for many years, that wasn’t picked up on, no matter how many doctors and specialists I have seen.
Yet it is no coincidence that endometriosis goes so un-recognised. For a start, most gynaecology doctors are male. This is a huuuuge problem in itself, as many young women are dismissed and not taken seriously. It took me 18 months to get a diagnosis. Secondly, despite being more common than type-2 diabetes (and remember this is a woman only problem), there is limited recognition and understanding for the condition. It is getting better, but woman’s health is so complicated. It is not a one size fits all, making things a little tricky.
There is not a lot we can do to change these two factors that contribute to the lack of recognition of endometriosis, but there is something we can do.
Ladies, we need to start talking about PERIODS.
Without ever talking about it, we don’t have an idea of what is an abnormal period. We are taught to put up and shut up, but that approach is helping silence the thousands of woman who are suffering more than they need too.
Periods aren’t a picnic for the majority of woman, and to those who don’t really suffer with them, I am endlessly jealous. But for some, they are debilitating. A hindrance. Life altering.
We need to break that taboo.
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