“How does that feel?” he asked pushing firmly on my g-spot, “Um… that’s fine…” I mumbled uncomfortably. “How about there?” he asked, pushing slightly deeper this time. A hot pain shot up through my body, “that hurts” I winced through my lost breath. He covered me with the sheet, removed his gloves and told me to put my underwear back on. “Just stay on the pill and take Panadol and Nurofen every four hours for the first days of your period” he instructed, not even looking away from his computer screen. “So just keep doing what I’m doing?” I asked, already knowing the answer but desperately hoping for another. “Period pain is quite normal” he responded without an ounce of sympathy. So out I walked hit with the uncomfortable realisation that with no suggestions, no answers and no further medical advice I had essentially just paid $200 to be fingered by a strange Indian man.
Endometriosis is a condition in which uterine lining grows outside of the uterus, most commonly on the uterus itself, ovaries and fallopian tubes as well as on the bowels and bladder, although it can grow pretty much anywhere. These deposits respond to hormonal changes in the same way intrauterine lining does, growing and then ‘shedding’ at certain points of the menstrual cycle. With no where to go this rogue endometrial tissue remains in the abdominal cavity, causing inflammation, irritation and leaving behind scar tissue that can fuse organs together. Sounds kinda painful right? As if hormones, periods and lady bits didn’t hold enough of your attention, those lady bits you so tenderly care for can turn on you, becoming hell-bent on total domination and quite literally taking over your whole world, and your internal organs.
One in ten women have endometriosis,
And I am that one in ten.
It was a long battle to find a doctor willing to investigate my complaints and the diagnosis has come with a lot of pain and uncertainty. What concerns me the most though, is the number of women who just accept that this pain is “normal”. People will often ask me if having endometriosis means I’m infertile, which is a reasonable question. Between 30% and 50% of women with endometriosis will become infertile because of the disease. The problem is you don’t often hear about endometriosis until a woman trying to conceive is told that she can’t. Complaints of pain are all too often not taken seriously by doctors. Although there is no cure for endometriosis, and finding ways to manage the many symptoms can be a challenge to say the least, an early diagnosis gives women options. An early diagnosis gives women the chance to explore different treatments. Early intervention gives women a much greater chance of preserving fertility, as well as reducing damage to other organs. No woman should have her pain invalidated; no woman should ever be made to believe that this is normal and no woman should have to pay $200 just for an awkward sexual encounter under the guise of gynaecology.
By Tegan Faber
Former journalistic dabbler, current Social work student with a fondness for harassing people with a camera.