What makes Endo different from what is considered the normal period pains?

Endometriosis.  This term may sound complex, I know, I will debunk it in the simplest words.

1 in 10 women of reproductive age suffer from Endometriosis- that’s 176 million worldwide.

All I need is your attention to this. It was “that time of the month”  and I was sitting at my desk questioning why being a woman meant dealing with all this. You see, I was moody, grumpy, nauseated, tired and my tummy, oh my tummy!  It was on fire! Period pains are wild!

One minute it feels like someone is cutting your tummy into pieces using a power saw, the next minute your uterus is being set ablaze. VERY SHARP PAINS!  And then there is always that annoying painful pimple that pops up on the face, yaani it’s always at a very strategic place trying to make this announcement, ” hey! I am having my periods” The nerve! By this time, I had made a friend in the office to a point of moving from my working place and joining hers. Bam! We became deskmates.? I just told her that I was already having a bad day but after taking some medication, I would be fine in an hour or later. We had a small talk and that was it.

On this particular day, I got to work a little bit earlier. I found her at our desk with her head bent on the working area, one hand tightly holding her tummy. That was unlike her so I got concerned and asked what was wrong. On looking at me with her eyes were red and puffy, She said that it was period pains. I told her to take some painkillers and that she would be fine. “That won’t work, I suffer from Endometriosis” was her response. What is endometriosis?  I asked. This is where I want your attention, yes you, you who are reading this.

Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissues similar to the lining inside of the uterus called the endometrium, is found outside the uterus where it induces a chronic inflammatory reaction that may result in scar tissue. It is mainly found on the pelvic, recto-vaginal septum, the bladder, and bowel. The endometrium is what is usually shed off during the menstrual cycle. 

Is there a known cause? There has been no exact clear answer on what causes endometriosis, for instance in my case the doctors only mentioned that it was a western disease and that they did not know the real cause was.

What’s the cure? There’s no known cure for Endometriosis, though some doctors say that if you get pregnant or total hysterectomy cures but no proof. Cause even after surgery the endo still comes back.

What has been your experience in the curative process? I have had two surgeries since being diagnosed, at first I thought everything was ok until the symptoms started coming back. It has not been easy, the hormonal treatment, most of them have reacted with me, mood swings, nausea, and suicidal thoughts

What is the cost of treatment? It’s very expensive to treat Endometriosis because the only way you can diagnose Endo is through laparoscopic surgery which is about a million-plus depending on the Hospital and the hormonal treatment after. How accessible is it? Not a lot of doctors can perform this kind of surgery so it becomes very hard to identify and get a doctor who understands this. Has this affected your relationship?  Yes. I Am currently not dating. Due to hormonal treatment, it’s been really difficult to be in a relationship/explain to someone to even believe and understand your condition, most of the time I prefer being alone. Has this affected your dating life? Yes

Are you looking forward to having a family? Yes, but it’s been a bit difficult.

How do you cope with this? I do a lot of hormonal therapy treatment, exercise and follow a strict diet though it’s difficult at times. I have given up a couple of times I mean, dealing with pain? Have you ever been depressed at some point? Yeah many times, it has been and still is a difficult journey for me.

Is there an existing support group/ or organization dealing with endo awareness? Yes, the Endometriosis Foundation of Kenya headed by Elsie Wandera. The foundation has brought in endo warriors in Kenya and experts from other countries, we have a WhatsApp group and recently we opened Telegram due to the big number of warriors, we offer support and create awareness on Endometriosis.

What is your message to the young girl out there? They should not suffer in silence when they are in pain, they should seek medical attention.  

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