I got my first period at the age of 13. Always painful, heavy and irregular. My gynaecologist said the condition will improve with age. And yes, it did. The irregular periods were gone by the age of 16-17. But what never left my company was this pain, this unmerciful and burning pain. I remember sometimes I used to faint because of the pelvic pain and heavy bleeding. I see many girls who play, swim, party and lead a normal life even when they are menstruating. I would say “Girls you must be God’s favourite”.
So, I considered myself a not so favourite of God and started leading my life accepting the monthly challenges. But then my life took another turn. When I was 26, I started getting random cramps. Cramps like mini ninjas were trying to kill me from inside. Getting down from my bed in the morning became like a battle. I rushed to my gynaecologist. And after all the scans and tests, I was diagnosed with Endometriosis, a chronic illness I have to live with.
I had not heard of endometriosis before nor had any member of my family. I had to do my own research by consulting the internet and doctor. Endometriosis is a disorder in which tissue similar to the endometrial tissue (tissue that forms the lining of your uterus) grows outside of the uterine cavity, on ovaries, fallopian tube, bowel, and tissues lining your pelvis. Some of the symptoms I suffered from were:
- chronic pain during or in between cycles
- heavy bleeding during periods
- Fatigue/lack of energy/weakness
Some days can really be hard when the pain is to the extent that I cannot stand up straight or walk properly as the pain is down my legs and up my back. Lying curled up in bed in the fetal position around a hot water bottle becomes a common way of coping.
The treatment my doctor suggested is of combined oral contraceptive pills. These pills contain a mixture of estrogen and progesterone and works by suppressing ovulation and affects the production of female hormones in the ovary. The hormones in the Pill cause the uterus lining to become thinner, causing periods to become shorter and lighter, thus reducing endometriosis symptoms. I have been taking this treatment from past 3 years now with planned breaks in between. I can say that in my case the treatment did not work as effectively as expected. Instead it brought some side effects like weight gain and mood swings.
This is when I had to bring some changes in my lifestyle. And trust me these changes work as add-ons to the treatment.
- Yoga and workout: There are yogasanas which are specially for Endometriosis pain relief. Workout is important because this treatment can cause an unproportionate weight gain.
- Avoid dairy products: As suggested by an ayurvedic doctor because dairy products contain hormones which can affect the natural hormone generation of the body.
- Add green vegetables and fruits in your diet.
- Positive attitude: This illness can sometimes play with your mind and you can feel sick and on your own. Don’t fall for it. Go out, spend time with people and try to lead your life as normal as you can. Just take one day at a time.
People often say, “You don’t look sick”. But I am not surprised, even I was not aware of it before. A surprising fact is that approximately 10 per cent of women in India are suffering from this debilitating illness, still, no one knows about it till they suffer themselves. So, I just want to bring this awareness among girls who are suffering from lethal pelvic pain or any other symptom. Don’t spend half of your life assuming that it is just normal period pain and go see your gynaecologist for correct diagnosis before it’s too late.
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