March is Endometriosis Awareness Month. One in ten women, or an estimated 176 million women worldwide, suffer from this chronic illness for which there is no cure. I am 1 in 10.
I was not diagnosed with endometriosis until age 29. My husband and I were unable to get pregnant after two years of trying and using a fertility monitor for months. Because my ob-gyn found nothing wrong after running several tests, she suggested that we see a fertility specialist. He was the first person to suggest that I might have endometriosis, a disease that I had never even heard of.
My story is not uncommon. It takes an average of ten years for a woman to be diagnosed with endometriosis. Even after diagnosis, there is little help with understanding this illness. In fact, only since seeing Instagram posts from fellow endo sisters such as Endo Tough have I learned about the various issues involved with this disease. Until now, I believed endometriosis caused me pain each month and was the reason for my infertility, but no one had ever told me it could also cause depression, fatigue, stomach problems, and more.
And that is why I think Endometriosis Awareness Month is a good thing. Without a concerted effort, this often misdiagnosed and misunderstood illness will never receive the attention it deserves so that we can find a cure.
Because women like me who suffer from this disease look fine. Because cramps, fatigue, and sadness are often attributed to PMS, many believe endo sufferers are being over-dramatic or that the pain is simply in their head. But the pain, the tired, the “I don’t feel good, but I don’t know why” is real. And it is due to the fact that we are ill.
And there is no cure for this illness. Not pregnancy. Not a hysterectomy. Not surgery. Not medicine. There is no cure.
So, will you join this good thing and take part in Endometriosis Awareness Month with me? I will post Endo Facts on Facebook and Instagram throughout the month. Your likes, shares, and comments will help make others aware of this disease. Also, I encourage you to participate in the #1in10 Endo Challenge sponsored by The Endometriosis Coalition. Take a black and white photo of yourself holding a sign stating, “I am 1 in 10” or “My wife/mom/sister/friend is 1 in 10.”
Let’s break the silence and put a face to endometriosis!
Learn more about endometriosis here
Read more about My Endo Story here