Understanding a woman’s struggle with endometriosis


Ellie Walker

11% of women in America experience Endometriosis. If you or someone you know experiences painful abdominal pain, reach out to your healthcare provider.

Endometriosis is a debilitating condition that is believed to affect 11% of women in the United States, which is about six and a half million women. The condition is when a tissue similar to the tissue that lines the inside of the uterus grows outside the uterus. Symptoms of the condition are extreme cramping, nausea or vomiting, heavy menstrual flow and urinary and bowel issues. Endometriosis can last for years or even a lifetime.
There are several factors that make the condition difficult to diagnose. Unfortunately, doctors don’t take the symptoms seriously right away. Many women have spoken of their discouraging experiences with doctors.
“It’s really disappointing. You go to the doctor hoping for a solution and they just brush it off like ‘It’s normal to cramp on your period’,” said Ivy Boyd, a tour guide at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. “I know what’s happening to me isn’t normal. Doctors tell me exercise will help when I can’t even stand when it’s happening.”
For Boyd, it took years for her to find the right doctor. When she did they were able to work together to come up with a temporary solution.
“She has me taking birth control, which really helps. If I want something more permanent, I’ll have to consider surgery, which may not be permanent either,” Boyd said.
Michelle Stanley, a checker at Hy-Vee, has dealt with endometriosis since she started puberty.
“Those were some hard years,” Stanley said. “I went years just suffering through it. It wasn’t until I found a doctor that took me seriously that I was able to find ways to manage it.”
Stanley spent years on birth control until the side effects of that became too much. She concluded that surgery would be the best option.
“The surgery was worth it,” Stanley said. “I got it four years ago and I feel so normal. I have moments where I can’t believe I went through that pain all those years. I just hope this is a one-and-done thing.”
Endometriosis is typically diagnosed through pelvic exams, ultrasounds, MRI’s or through a laparoscopy. A Laparoscopy is a surgery that uses a camera to confirm endometriosis and remove tissue. It is the most effective way to diagnose the condition. The surgery allows for a diagnosis and for tissue to be removed. The only permanent solution though is a hysterectomy, which is a surgery that removes the reproductive organs altogether.
Endometriosis can be a burden when it comes to living a normal life. It is best not to stay quiet but reach out to people in your community that have it so you can find the best medical professional to take your pain seriously.
“It can feel like you are on your own, but there are a lot of us out here going through it too. It can be manageable,” Boyd said.
Edited by: Kyle Manthe,Simran Shrestha