A personal take on endometriosis

By: Rose

It was 1999, and I started my first period.  I was 14 years old.  I was given the birds and bees talk by my mum a few months ago (Indian Dads at that time never talked about sex with their kids!), and I was all prepared for the big day.  All the girls in my grade 9 class had already hit puberty at 10/11 years old.  
Unbeknown to me, when I started my period at 14, I would have periods every 2 or 3 months, and missing periods every few months. During exam periods, I would totally miss my periods, and they would come back after 6 months.

Noticing that this wasn’t the norm I went to the GP, and together we tried to figure out what was happening because no one else knew better- I ended up getting a diagnosis of Polycystic Ovarian syndrome.  I was shocked that this would happen to me – my mother didn’t have it, and none of my family members had this before me.

Throughout high school, I had tons of embarrassing moments with severe bleeding and pain.  Off to the GP again, and I was put on contraception – my mum freaked out!

After I finished university, I started community service and started to learn more about women’s health and the treatments thereof.  A few months later, I ended up having an ultrasound for a lump in my breasts which turned out to be fibroadenomas.  I was then advised by the Physician to go to a gynae, and have a proper consult.

I was told from my symptoms (heavy bleeding > 7/7 and severe pain) that I have PCOS and possibly Endometriosis, and that I would need surgery to accurately find and remove it.

I had the surgery a few weeks later and started to feel better.

A few years down the line, after getting married, I started questioning the possibility of having babies (I was told by a few medical professionals that I would not be able to have children)- I went to a new gynae, and started planning to get myself ready.

This took about 3 years. We couldn’t conceive naturally in the first year. I was 31 years old and after 2 more years of injections, fertility and a chronically up regulated nervous system – my gynae recommended weight loss and a healthy lifestyle.

He made so much sense- you need to have healthy housing to prepare to conceive and to be able to sustain the conception. So off we went on our journey. 6 Months later, we conceived. We now have a beautiful 4-year-old. Praise God.

Believe it or not, as a women’s health physiotherapist, I’d never really heard about the pelvic floor before 2014. It is essential for every person (male/ female) to understand what pelvic floor education is about (for current and future generations) it’s not at all embarrassing if anything your pelvic health is vitally important.

We as physiotherapists are able to assist patients with so much more than ‘kegels’ or a ‘massage’. We assist patients with pelvic floor dysfunction pre and post-natal, period and endo pain, prolapses, and lifestyle changes.

Here I’m waffling on but the moral of my story:

  • Our parents didn’t know any better on how to advise us ( it’s not their fault!)
  • Women’s health is often overlooked as painful and disabling periods are considered “normal”.
  • Periods are normal. Pain is not.
  • How much confidence and self-esteem is lost along the way with trauma and not being able to trust ( starts from childhood)
  • We need to be better with women’s health, period education, PCOS, and endometriosis care (from childhood).
  • Men and women need to start caring about what affects each other. There is no isolation in life. We are in 2024, and people are better informed through technology (there is no shame in having periods).
  • A healthy lifestyle is not about looking like a supermodel- it’s about having a healthy mind, body, and soul.
  • Physiotherapy can assist with pain relief, downregulation of our nervous systems, and assisting with better function of our pelvic floors.
  • Feeling ashamed and remaining silent only makes us unhappy people.

Let’s all be kind. We don’t know what battles our neighbors are facing and don’t be embarrassed by the conflicts of your body. Seek out the help you need.