Endometriosis: 'Don't give up on getting help'

From BBC - March 10, 2018

"It's taken three different hospitals and countless GPs and gynaecology specialists to get to this point. I'd like women to see that it is worth pushing and fighting, no matter what, and not to give up."

Megan is one of the estimated one-and-a-half million women in the UK living with endometriosis - where cells like those that line the womb develop in other parts of the body. It can cause painful and heavy periods, as well as infertility, fatigue and bowel and bladder problems.

The condition made headlines recently when Girls TV series writer and actress Lena Dunham announced her decision to undergo a hysterectomy at the age of 31.

Megan, now 28, wanted to tell her story during Endometriosis Awareness Weekabout the bad - and now the good - treatment she has had.

'It's normal'

"As soon as my periods started, when Iwas 12, the problems began. I had extreme pain and heavy bleeding, and I passed out several times," Megan says.

Her GP told her "every girl has this, it's normal", but put her on the pill to help with the heavy bleeding.

It was when Megan was in her early 20s that the problems really started. She had switched GPs and could not get the same pill any more. The replacement caused migraines - so she came off it and found that her hormonal symptoms became worse and worse.

One day, she went online.

"I Googled my symptoms, desperate to try and find an answer. The very first link threw up a word I had never even heard before but would literally take over and consume my life the very moment I read it - endometriosis. Every symptom fitted."

Her GP referred her to the gynaecology department at her local hospital - but she had to wait six months.

"I was suffering during that whole time. It was at a moderate level every day, and it peaked around my period and when I ovulated.

"The doctor gave me Oramorph [oral morphine] for if the pain was really bad - it was a last resort after other painkillers, nerve blockers and hormone control - but most of the time it barely touched it."

When she finally had her gynaecology appointment, doctors offered Megan an exploratory procedure to check for endometriosis - though they told her it was "very unlikely".

She had a laparoscopy in February 2016.

"Literally all the surgeon said to me was 'we found endometriosis, we treated it, you will have no more problems'.

"I was happy and relieved. I was very naive to the fact that this fight was far from over."

She did initially feel better, and started a new job. But by October that year, her symptoms were returning.

"I was told it could not have come back after the surgery. It was part of being a woman.... and that I 'needed to be more positive'... They told me to go for a run - but how could I do that if I could not even get to the bathroom?"

Eventually, Megan heard about the Norfolk and Norwich hospital, which had been accredited as a specialist endometriosis hospital - so she asked to be referred there.

"The difference in the level of care was indescribable.

You may also be interested in:


Continue reading at BBC »