Endometriosis is a complex condition affecting over 176 million people worldwide. It can cause pain and other difficult symptoms to explain to friends, family, and medical professionals. Understanding the basics of endometriosis and how to explain its pain can help you advocate for your health. Let’s take a closer look at what endometriosis is and how to discuss its symptoms.
What Is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a chronic disorder that occurs when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus. This tissue can grow on ovaries, fallopian tubes, or other organs in the pelvic area. Common symptoms include intense cramping during menstruation, pelvic pain throughout the month, and heavy menstrual bleeding. Other common signs include digestive issues like constipation, nausea, or diarrhea; fatigue; painful intercourse; and infertility.
What Does Endometriosis Pain Feel Like?
Endometriosis pain can vary from person to person depending on where the endometrial tissue is. Some common symptoms include pelvic cramping before and during periods; sharp pains in the lower abdomen; pain during or after sex; painful bowel movements; lower back pain; painful urination during periods; and bloating all month long. For some women living with endometriosis, these symptoms may be mild enough to ignore or easily manage with over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. However, for many others, these symptoms are severe enough to interfere with their daily activities and require medical intervention for relief.
Explaining Your Endometriosis Pain
If you have been diagnosed with endometriosis, it’s crucial to articulate your condition and its associated pain to get the help you need from medical professionals, friends, and family members. One helpful way to explain your symptoms is by comparing them to something relatable—for example, if you experience sharp pains as part of your endo pain cycle, try saying that they feel like “stabbing pains” or “piercing sensations” in your lower abdomen or back. You could also describe any muscle pain as akin to having bad PMS cramps all month long.
When discussing your condition with others, please provide some context about what endometriosis is and why it causes so much discomfort for those suffering from it. This context will help people better understand why your pain levels fluctuate. Additionally, be sure not to downplay any of your experiences. Instead, focus on being honest about how severe your symptoms are and how they directly impact your life. Give at least one or two real-life examples of how endometriosis has disrupted your life.
Endometriosis is an incredibly painful condition that affects many people worldwide every day. Understanding what this condition entails and the language for articulating its associated pains can help those affected by endo get the treatment they need from their peers and medical professionals. Explaining endometriosis pain to someone who hasn’t experienced it firsthand can be not easy. But understanding what exactly endometriosis is and what type of symptoms it can cause can make it easier for you to express how you’re feeling to others. With knowledge comes power, so learn and try to explain it well!
Now let’s hear from you. How would you explain your endometriosis pain?