Endometriosis: Experiencing the Menopause at 24
What it's like living with severe endometriosis
UK's definition of Endometriosis is:
"Endometriosis is the name given to the condition where cells like the ones in the lining of the womb (uterus) are found elsewhere in the body."
Each month these cells react in the same way to those in the womb, building up and then breaking down and bleeding. Unlike the cells in the womb that leave the body as a period, this blood has no way to escape.
It is a chronic and debilitating condition that causes painful or heavy periods. It may also lead to infertility, fatigue and bowel and bladder problems."
Some of the treatments for endo are as horrific as the condition itself. They include but are not limited to: laparoscopy (where they either burn or cut off build up of endometrial tissue inside your tummy), being on the pill, hormonal and testosterone treatments, an induced menopause and loads of other weird stuff.
It's also nearly impossible to find a sympathetic doctor—some of the best things I've been told include:
"Don't get emotional." (I wasn't being emotional)
"Endometriosis is just a weird disease we don't know why it hurts sometimes."
"Being in pain every day isn't a symptom of Endometriosis—maybe you have IBS."
But, the worst thing I have experienced with this condition, including the debilitating pain, has to be going through the menopause.
Following a course of injections in my butt, my body was put into a state of false menopause.
The side effects were massive and horrible, my memory became awful and I lost focus. I felt constantly and completely fatigued, I was somehow still having periods, and my pain did NOT go away even slightly.
The hardest thing to live with was the hot flushes, I must have had about 15 a day. I couldn't sleep at night because I would be roasting one minute and freezing the next, which probably added to my brain fog.
Even with Hormone Replacement Therapy the side effects were completely awful and took over my life. I've been living with pain for a long time now and I can usually ignore it and carry on with my day.
The menopause completely debilitated me. It also completely ruined any (tiny) possibility of a sex life.
It can be impossible and excruciating for me to have sex, but with the menopause, it took away any drive I might have had. This creates so many strange feelings, and problems within a relationship.
I think it’s really hard to explain to someone that you love that you don’t want to have sex with them because you’ve never felt more gross. It’s hard for that person to hear that and not feel like it’s about them.
For someone to support you throughout that journey is really amazing and a lot of people wouldn’t be up to the challenge. It’s a daily rejection and it must be really hard to trust and believe that those feelings are still there when your actions seem to be contradicting that.
It totally took away my identity, I didn't want to do anything because I was worried I would have a hot flush. I couldn't concentrate through a film because my mind would go blank halfway through.
It was honestly awful. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.
Unfortunately the battle continues, I still haven't found any treatment that helps and I am starting to feel completely hopeless about the situation.
Endometriosis UK has been really helpful—someone who works there sent a really helpful email and a recommendation to visit a BSGE registered practice and see what they say, so fingers crossed they can help me finally.