Many people ask me what the pain of endometriosis is like but since it is different for everyone and dependant on placement it can be hard to explain. You can have a lot of endometriosis and very little pain or small areas of endometriosis placed in sensitive spots which causes massive ammounts of pain.
My pain after the birth of our twins was dull, aching and radiating from my left side. It hurt to sit upright and I could even feel a “lump” through my back when I put pressure on it. During that same time my periods became worse and worse. The cramps were debilitating and radiated down the front of my legs and into my lower back. There were days it was difficult to walk. To go from working out two hours a day and running 5ks to feeling unable to walk across the room during the worst pain is not “just a period”.
I finally mentioned the pain to my gynecologist who immediately did an ultrasound and after seeing those results recommended a laparoscopy. During the laparoscopy they found that the worst of the pain was caused by the lining that protects your organs being wadded up under my left side behind my rib cage (which can happen after c-section or other abdominal surgeries). They also found an ovarian cyst, polyp, adhesions, some remaining fetal tissue and… ENDOMETRIOSIS.
The endometriosis had caused my left ovary to be stuck to the back of my uterus and my uterus to be stuck to the left side of my abdomen. My entire female reproductive system was stuck, suspended left of midline. No wonder my left side had hurt so badly.
In hindsight I should have made someone listen to me. I knew my body and I knew the pain wasn’t right but when one doctor checked and found “nothing” I just let it go. I didn’t want to be labeled the “hypochondriac patient” or bother anyone. Like I mentioned in my last blog, I felt like I just needed to convince myself it didn’t hurt. So, I dealt with the pain much longer than I should have.
When I woke up in recovery from that first laparoscopy I felt better than I had felt in a year It was amazing. It was comforting to know I wasn’t just plain loosing my mind. (Which, you tend to question when you are told there is no reason for your pain).
That laparoscopy provided two years of relief before the pain returned…
My main goal in telling this portion of my story is to encourage you to listen to your body. If you have pain and it does not feel right, please don’t ignore it. Find a doctor who will listen to you and get it checked out. I have found myself only telling my gynecologist the things that seem related to periods and my family practice doctor everything else. If no one has the “entire picture” it can be hard to figure out what it going on!Just because the pain is not caused by the first or only thing that they check does not mean it isn’t real.
Jennifer Rackley is a nutritionist and mother of three girls. Two of her children have dealt with acid reflux disease, food allergies, migraines, and asthma. She has a Bachelor of Science in dietetics from Harding University and graduate work in public health nutrition through Eastern Kentucky University. In addition to writing for HealthCentral, she does patient consults and serves on the Board of Directors for the Pediatric Adolescent Gastroesophageal Reflux Association.