What is Endometriosis?
I was officially diagnosed with endometriosis at 29 years of age. Up until this time I had no idea what endometriosis was. Never heard of it.
I suffered with painful periods from the start of my monthly cycles. I complained about them for years to my doctors and for years I was reminded that it is normal to have pain with your period. My pain was anything but normal. Something was wrong.
1 in 10 women have endometriosis. That’s a pretty big number. Yet I suffered for years without any knowledge of this disease and I know that I am not alone. Do you remember when you were first diagnosed? Did you know what it all meant?
In case you are still in search of an answer to these questions here is my simplified description of what endometriosis is….
Endometriosis is when cells from the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) are found outside of the womb. These cells react like they are still part of the uterus and react to the hormonal fluctuations involved in the menstrual cycle. These stray cells can cause extreme pain, nausea and digestive distress during menstruation and some women have these symptoms all month long.
Endometriosis is also the leading cause of infertility.
There is no known cause for endometriosis. This makes finding a solution that much more difficult. In Westernized medicine there is no “cure”, though I do believe now that it can be healed holistically.
Why did I not know about endometriosis? Why did my mother not know about it? The short answer — because no one was talking about it.
Yellow for Endo
March is endometriosis awareness month and the awareness color for endo is yellow. I LOVE yellow — it was one of my wedding colors 🙂
To me, yellow means Spring and sunshine. March holds the first day of Spring. My favorite time of year …. budding leaves on the trees, the birds chirping in the crisp morning air, and excitement for warm weather and time outside 🙂
Spring is a time for planting, for growth, for renewal. (I am super excited to plant my first garden this year!)
So what does this mean in connection with endometriosis? That perhaps in the darkness of this disease — there is a ray of hope. And an opportunity for growth.
Much of this reflects in the community of women who share this disease. I have met such beautiful women with endometriosis. Women with true compassion, love and support. Super creative women. Driven women. Truly beautiful women 🙂
The pain of endometriosis is often times misunderstood and it can be very isolating. It is very, very helpful to have support from women who understand. I’m not sure where I would be without the support of my endo sisters.
For me, endometriosis has meant a ton of personal growth as I’ve been forced to take better care of myself. The pain is hard to ignore. It spurred me to seek my own renewal.
I am proud to see the spread of yellow across social media and I have hope that this yellow awareness will continue to spread across the world so that the question – what is endometriosis? Is not a second thought for young women.
Endometriosis March 2014
In celebration of endometriosis awareness month I am so happy to see the introduction of the Million Women March for Endometriosis. The event is taking place in 53 cities around the world on March 13, 2014.
I set an intention about six months ago to attend the march…. and I am still hoping to be able to attend. I am putting it out there…..into the digital universe….. that I will find a way 🙂
Why do I want to march? Because it took me 17 years to get a proper diagnosis. Because endometriosis is not known about, not talked about. This silence often brings shame. We are unsure how to explain just how painful it is, or why we are so tired, or why we don’t have children yet….
It would be easier if more people knew about it and if it was recognized sooner by doctors. (Painful periods are not normal!)
I really want to be a part of this historical moment in my nation’s capitol where so much history has been made. I want to be part of the voice of endometriosis and walk aside my endo sisters. I want to march in recognition that endometriosis is nothing to be ashamed about.
Good news — if it turns out I am unable to attend live I can still participate online. Register to “march” digitally here.
On the Positive Side?
I am hopeful that endometriosis will get more attention as the sea of yellow extends this March 🙂
We can make a difference by speaking out about it. There is no need to be ashamed. This “invisible disease” is real and it needs to be recognized.
In review of what endometriosis is much of the messages are dismal. But I think there is a reason why yellow is for endo — because there is hope within it all. I believe it is possible to heal. The color yellow evokes joy and optimism after all 🙂
What are you doing to spread endometriosis awareness? Have you talked about it on your social media page? Do you have a blog that you write in? Are you going to make it to the endometriosis march? I’d love to hear from you….