By Aakanksha Bhargava
The doctor perhaps has just broken the news of you having endometriosis and all you can think of are the problems to come. These include excruciating pain, discomfort, heavy bloating, digestion issues, possible infertility, poor eggs for ovulation, problems with child bearing, month after month agitation , fibroids , cysts which will persist through all your fertile life.
Add to that being a young teenage girl who dreams of having a competitive career and a fruitful married life with their significant other, it was unreal to believe that I was the chosen one. You might think of you being the just one in few however, there is an estimated 1 in 10 women who are diagnosed with endometriosis. This disorder affects close to 176 million women worldwide. The awareness worldwide is much more however in the Indian scenario it is considered a taboo and ill fate for women to be diagnosed with endometriosis considering it directly affects the child bearing capability in a woman. Hence, in order to decode what endometriosis is it’s important to understand and incorporate healthy lifestyle changes to live a healthy and blissfully parenthood.
Endometriosis is a condition or disorder in which tissues which are similar to the uterus tissues grow outside the uterine cavity. This lining of the uterus is called endometrium. If you are diagnosed with endometriosis you might find that this endometrial tissue grows over the ovaries, bowels, and pelvis. While menstruating, one might be in discomfort and pain considering the misplaced tissue causes the area to be painful and inflamed. With time, the outer tissue which is broken down and trapped in the pelvis, causes scars, irritation, pain while having intercourse, infertility and extreme pain while menstruating. The menstrual blood is left behind and forms a cyst. The symptoms vary from woman to woman where some might experience mild symptoms that others.
I was diagnosed with small cysts on the outer lining of my uterus back when I was just 19 years old. I had my first surgery for this issue at that time. In order to help me manage my lifestyle the doctor prescribed me with hormonal therapy which reversely affected me. I had blisters all over my body and post this I vowed never to take any over-the-counter medication to control this. I used to follow a strict diet which didn’t allow weight gain considering having excess weight would fluctuate more hormonal changes in the body. There are various medications which are prescribed by the doctor to help one ease with the pain, gas and inflammation and the overall condition which is caused throughout. These medications should be religiously taken as prescribed by the doctor.
There were several suggestions of removing the uterus to keep going, to get married early and have a family, to not travel alone, to not be an entrepreneur as that means only stress that adds up to the pain. But I had decided that I would not let anyone else choose for me. There were days in a month where I had to take four painkillers and go for meetings, I was in between flights and had massive cramps, I have held friends and cried when it hurt but I knew I wanted to give it all and wait for the right time to have a baby. Now, 15 years later, when I see Samaira by my side, those six surgeries don’t seem to be part of any memory.
When a person is suffering with endometriosis it’s important for woman to find/and or build support groups. There are definitely many women who are silently suffering from the same condition from the stigma attached with this condition. Hence, it’s important to talk. And if you find anyone around you, who is suffering be compassionate and offer support and love.
Though endometriosis is a big reason for infertility and I had my own challenges of breaking the society norms by not hurrying up to have a baby or find a man who already had a child (as once suggested by a doctors who thought she was giving me the best advise possible!). But it’s possible to conceive. I think the real battle is in the head and if you win that, it helps. I am super thankful to everyone who helped me achieve that and hence like to talk about it, to be of help to others.
It is very essential for people including women to not be stigmatised with this condition and speak to qualified doctors and verified support groups. Also, it’s important to understand that this condition though not curable, can still be managed.
Thankfully my parents supported me though this journey and today, I feel it has made me a stronger individual.
(The writer is CEO at PMR)
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