Endometriosis affects around one in ten women in Australia, many of whom have to go through multiple doctors and misdiagnoses before being told what’s causing their pain.
The most commonly known symptom of the condition is extremely painful periods – which is what often contributes to women being dismissed or not being believed – however, there are a number of other, less expected symptoms, that sufferers experience and may not be aware are associated with endo.
One is a sharp, stabbing pain in the bowel.
“I would sit down and it would literally feel like a knife is going up me, as disgusting as that sounds,” endo sufferer Ally Thomson tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
“It honestly, and this is a little bit graphic, it felt like someone was putting a knife inside my bowel,” agrees radio personality Mel Greig.
“It just felt like this sharp, stabbing pain when I had to go to the toilet. To be on the toilet and then you have to fall on the floor and curl up because the pain makes you scream it’s so excruciating.”
In severe cases, endometriosis can occur in the bowel, but according to Endometriosis Australia, “The majority of women with endometriosis can experience a number of bowel-related symptoms, but reassuringly only a few of these women will have endometriosis that has spread to the bowel.”
This is the body you usually see on my feed, but it’s not what it looks like everyday. I get really bad flare ups due to my endometriosis and I can sometimes look a few months pregnant. It took me 9 years to be diagnosed and the average time it takes to be diagnosed is 7 years which is insane! Researchers from @westernsydneyu (@drmikeoz) have created a website to help study this disease. It has a HUGE amount of information and I truly encourage women aged 14-25 to check it out whether you have this disease or not. I wish this was around earlier- check out my story to get to the website 💛 @endometriosisaustralia @thetalentsociety . . . . . #endometriosis #endowarrior #model #fitness #health #influencer #beauty #fashion #aussie #swimwear #bikini #bronde #blonde #tan #bali #summer #endo #photoshoot #photography #ootd #bts
A post shared by TASHA LARAINE ROSS (@tasha_rossxx) on Oct 31, 2018 at 12:21am PDT
Unfortunately for Miss Universe Australia contestant Tasha Ross, she needed surgery to help with her bowel pain.
“I didn’t know that endometriosis could affect your bowels, and mine was quite severe,” she tells us.
“About six months ago I had my last laparoscopy surgery and it was found that my stomach and my bowels had been glued together by the endometriosis which they ended up separating.”
Tasha wasn’t diagnosed for nine years, and in an emotional Instagram post says that the bloating can make her “look a few months pregnant.” Similarly, Mel Greig has shared a photo of her bloating where she specified she is ‘#notpregnant’ but has ‘#endobelly’.
I remember going away for the weekend to Melbourne and my partner at the time was so excited to be going to the footy. We started walking to the MCG and out of nowhere every step felt like I was being stabbed in my lower right side, I dropped to my knees to make the pain stop and he was mortified . . . Not out of concern, he was trying to understand why I was being so ‘dramatic’ my pain was fierce but it was invisible. He told me it was in my head and to hurry up and shake it off so we could get to the game. When people can’t see the pain of Endometriosis it can be hard to comprehend, so as I told him and as we continue to tell others THE PAIN IS REAL. I didn’t make it to the game that day, Endo sufferers often feel as though we let people down with our illness but it’s out of our control and at @endometriosisaustralia we will continue to break down the stigma of the chronic illness that affects 1 in 10 women. For too long, our stories have been buried and we've been made to feel dramatic or like maybe it's all in our own head. This Women's Health Week, @whimn’s Hysterical Women series is telling these stories to help spread awareness and start a long overdue conversation. If you've ever felt dismissed, or even isolated, by your condition, share a selfie with your own story and the hashtag #notinmyhead.
A post shared by Mel Greig (@melgreig_) on Sep 3, 2018 at 4:23pm PDT
Bloating, cramps, pelvic pain and pain during sex, are other common symptoms, and some endometriosis sufferers also experience fatigue, nausea, diarrhoea, depression and anxiety.
For Emily George, endometriosis means fatigue and brain fog.
“For me the most unexpected symptom of endo has been the brain fog that I get in the first few days of my period,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
“It’s like a fatigue that drags me down, and I can’t function like I normally do, I can’t drive and I get to the end of the few days having forgotten who chunks of what I did.”
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