Endometriosis: There are Options

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Today is my birthday, twenty-eight wonderful years on this Earth.

I am proud of my years, not because it’s a long time but because not many have the privilege to make it this far. The years have flown by – it feels like I was just 16 sneaking out and eating french fries.

I feel like my existence is an achievement, I work hard to stay alive. Nobody told me how hard ‘adulting’ was going to be, but here I am. Killin’ it. Well, according to my measure. 

My life would be perfect if I had children and a husband

Society uses a different measuring stick. Why must society demand that I procreate? Many women my age are choosing to delay or remain free of children altogether. Media doesn’t give up on posting coverage of “Yummy Mummys” or Kardashian bumps. Why is there a strong pressure to have children in order to feel feminine? Thanks to the media, it’s thick and depressing for those, like me, who have difficulty reproducing due to endometriosis.

Endometriosis is painful

According to the Mayo Clinic, endometriosis occurs when irregular tissue grows outside of the uterus. Involving the reproductive organs such as ovaries, fallopian tubes and tissue lining the pelvis. This tissue is similar to endometrial tissue in that it thickens, breaks down and bleeds with each menstrual cycle however it has no way to exit your body, it becomes trapped. This causes the surrounding tissue to become irritated, develop scar tissue and adhesions.

Individuals who suffer from endometriosis usually experience loads of pain and pressure. It feels like being on your period, but super-size all of the symptoms.

  • Disheartening period in the form of pelvic pain and cramping
  • Constantly bending over to stretch to relieve lower back and abdominal pain
  • Unpleasurable sex due to pain
  • Uncomfortable bowel movements or urination during menstrual cycle
  • Lack of ability to procreate, known as infertility
  • Exhaustion, diarrhea, constipation, bloating and nausea may occur

Okay, now that you have the low-down on symptoms. Let’s get back to that apology letter. I’m sorry for every girl out there that has to explain herself because she doesn’t measure up to society’s standards. You are not alone. Women’s Health suggests that more than 11% of American women between the ages of 15 and 44 experience endometriosis. That 11% is not measuring up to standards. Who’s standards – Right? You are not alone.

There are options to consider and steps you can take

It’s important to know that you are not alone, but statistics are not always correct. Getting pregnant with Endometriosis might be due to several different factors. Your physician can look to see where the endometriosis is occurring: ovaries and/or fallopian tubes?  We know that the egg must make it’s journey from the ovary, through the fallopian tube, and down to the uterus to make fertilization happen before implanting into the lining of the uterus. If a woman has endometriosis in her fallopian tube lining, the tissue may be causing a block to the egg. Doctors do not know why, but endometriosis links to an inflammatory response which releases compounds that can cause damage to a females egg or the males sperm. Unfortunately, the only sure way to know where you are effected by endometriosis is by surgery.

 

An infertility specialist might be in order if you have endometriosis and want to think about becoming pregnant. In some cases, a fertility specialist may recommend surgery to remove growths that are keeping a woman from getting pregnant.

It’s also important to live as healthy a lifestyle as possible when you have endometriosis and are trying to get pregnant.

  • maintaining a healthy weight
  • eating a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins
  • engaging in moderate exercise on a daily basis: walking, lifting weights, and participating in an aerobics class

Keep in mind that age can be a factor for all women wishing to get pregnant. Higher fertility rates are associated with younger age. Women ages 35 and older are at greater risk for both infertility and miscarriage than younger women.

The good news is that there are many women every day with endometriosis who conceive and deliver a healthy baby. If having children is something to consider in your future then start discussing your options early with your gynecologist.

For more assistance you can refer to these local affiliations which are available to help you along this journey in life:

Texas Fertility Clinic – Working with both men and women with a variety of options and information, Round Rock location.

Lakeside Wellness Center – Jane Yu LAc specializes in women’s health and pregnancy support. Great nutritional and hormonal balance support services.

Family Counseling – Available to help you make the right choice for you and your family

Infant Loss Awareness – Another article to make you feel human, should you have lost in the  process

Life has its own turns, there are both positive and negatives to having children. Whether you decide to make that decision is your choice. Families come in many forms, some thru birth, some thru adoptions and some thru loving close friendships. We want you to know that you are not alone in this battle of endometriosis.