Endometriosis is a condition where cells similar to those in the uterus start to grow elsewhere in the body, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes. It's a long-term condition that can have a significant impact on your life, causing symptoms such as severe menstrual bleeding, pain during/after sex, bowel issues, chronic back and abdominal pain, fertility issues and fatigue.
Being one of the most difficult conditions to diagnose, it takes an average of seven and a half years from the onset of symptoms to get a diagnosis.
We spoke with our brand ambassador Becki, who has been living with endometriosis since her teens to ask some of the most common questions surrounding the condition.
Have you lived with Endometriosis for most of your life or was it a later onset/diagnosis?
Since I was 13, I have always suffered with excruciating pain and no one knew what it was, but I finally found someone who listened and sent me for exploratory surgery and in 2019 I got a diagnosis of endometriosis.
Did you experience any issues with your diagnosis?
Yes, plenty of issues. I was always told it was just a bad period or normal, and then it developed to always being water infections and countless amounts of antibiotics. I’ve been through I don’t know how many doctors and been prodded and poked to every extent possible - I’ve lost count of appointments, ambulances and trips to A&E.
How would you say Endometriosis affects day to day life?
Endometriosis has gotten worse the older I have got and has cost me my marriage, jobs and so much time in pain and cancelled plans. I am daily in pain, and have days where the pain is even worse, and in bed or on the sofa bed bound, with hot water bottles and in and out all day. I have meds that knock me out and days where I’m too fuzzy to concentrate. I have to plan for everything and I’m now having to think of my future. I have also developed other problems alongside having my endometriosis.
Did you have to make any lifestyle adjustments?
Yes, every single day. I have to take every day as it comes and plan for everything, making sure I pack everything I need for trips or even a simple shopping trip. I have had to find a job where I am now sat at a desk as I struggle with pain, but even with that, I’ve had to makes sure I have the flexibility to work from home and make them aware of surgeries or that I may need time off (I’m very lucky to have a company and colleagues who do everything they can to help). Every day is a struggle for me, but no matter what I carry on!
How would you say this affected you personally & how do you overcome this?
Personally, it has affected everything - physically and mentally I do struggle, but I’m lucky I have a supportive partner and work. I think without my job I would be a mess - it’s something that keeps me focused and distracts me from my pain. I’m always busy as this means it distracts me.
Would you say that there are any common misconceptions on Endometriosis?
I think a lot of people including doctors and other medical specialists don’t understand it because of the amount of different symptoms and variety it can come in – it makes it difficult. I think more people need to know more about it and understand it - not always think it’s just a bad period or normal.
Would you give any advice to your past self if you could?
I would tell myself not to give up and to go to the doctors sooner. I’d tell myself not to feel embarrassed and keep on, as I know my body better than doctors.
For more information on Endometriosis, including some frequently asked questions, visit Endometriosis UK.