Endometriosis is painful and can drastically impact your quality of life–but effective treatment can help. These patients and doctors share what’s worked in their experience.
Amanda:Endometriosis feels like barbed wire.
Fransheska:Death because it feels like you're dying from the inside.
Tresnae:I think someone already said, hell, huh? Is that a negative word to use? Endometriosis is hell because it feels like your insides are being turned upside down.
Jennifer:I have kind of just had really painful menstruation since the very beginning of it. For the first few years, it wasn't terrible. It was just something I would deal with. I would take ibuprofen., and basically, all of my pain that I was having around my cycle would not go away, but it would reduce.
Amanda:If I stand up too quickly, I literally feel like I am just like, I hate to say it, but just like gushing.
Jennifer:I got to a point where like 800 milligrams of ibuprofen was not working.
Fransheska:I always felt like I wasn't normal. I was always in a hospital.
Tresnae:For a while, my mom was like, "Hey, this is normal. This is part of being a female." And so we pretty much ignored it.
Amanda:I was like, no, this is legitimate. I can't get out of bed some days.
Tresnae:I eventually had imaging done and it was found that I had a tumor. That tumor was in the form of a dermoid cyst. When they removed that cyst, that's when they discovered that I had endometriosis. I have to say, though it was the scariest time in my life, it was also the most relief I think I've ever felt in my life, because it validated the pain that I was feeling. It validated that my periods weren't just really bad. There was something, in fact, wrong with me.
Fransheska:I went through this whole phase of stretching, and meditation, and yoga, and therapy, massage therapy.
Jennifer:There's not a perfect treatment, but it's treatable, which is incredible.
Todd Jenkins, MD:This is what makes endometriosis challenging for each woman. What works for one woman may not work for the next woman. It is really individualized in trying to find the right regimen for each woman. First things we recommend for women are two very simple things. Number one is regular exercise. The second thing we recommend is anti-inflammatory medicines.
Anila Ricks-Cord, MD:There are some alternative medicine therapies that are thought to work. Ideally heat, acupressure, and acupuncture may work for some people as well.
Todd Jenkins, MD:Most of our treatments are hormonally-based. First-line for most women is going to be an oral contraceptive pill. If we don't achieve success with oral contraceptive pills, many of us will move to some type of continuous progesterone treatment. We have it in a pill, we have it in a shot, we have it in an implant, and we have it in an intrauterine device.
Anila Ricks-Cord, MD:Endometriosis in and of itself can be a tricky disease to manage, but there is hope.
Todd Jenkins, MD:In the large majority of women, we will eventually find a regimen that works for you.
Jennifer:The treatment that I've found most helpful has been hormone therapy.
Amanda:A few months ago, I got an IUD and my life has changed forever.
Tresnae:I have an IUD as well.
Amanda:Yeah, that's the first time in my life I can say, "I feel like I'm living again."
Tresnae:Finding treatment and finding doctors and all of the things that comes with it, you just need to accept that it's a part of your life and it's a part of you. It doesn't define you.
Jennifer:I think it's just really important to remember, this is not the end of the world when you get diagnosed with endometriosis. There are so many options.
Amanda:You don't realize how strong you are until you have to go through it.
Tresnae:Tap into that strength. It's inside of you.
Fransheska:Don't ever give up because at the end of the day, you have yourself and you're able to survive because you're a survivor. We're all endo warriors, so don't give up.
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