This is Gina's story.
Since starting my period at the age of 12, I was under the impression that some people just had worse periods than others and that I was one of the unlucky ones. I would constantly hear the phrase 'just power through.'
After having doctors appointments about the excruciating pain I was having, I was told to go on a contraceptive pill. When this didn't work for me, the next solution was to change to the next contraceptive pill and so on. This was the only option I was given for 10+ years. At this point, I had never heard of the word endometriosis so accepted that I would always just have to ‘power through’.
It wasn't until having an unbearably uncomfortable smear test that the doctor advised the level of pain I was feeling was not 'normal'. I was referred to have a scan to investigate the possible cause of my pain.This was a real turning point for me. During the scan at the hospital the doctor advised me that they suspected endometriosis and referred me for laparoscopy surgery, to investigate if this suspicion was correct. I finally felt like I was getting closer to having answers after hearing about endometriosis and the symptoms for the first time.
In December 2020, I had my laparoscopy where they found and removed endometriosis. I was relieved yet frustrated I hadn't been diagnosed earlier, I wish there had been more awareness at the time my symptoms began.
I really hope that in future the time taken from having symptoms to getting a diagnosis is a quicker process. Being diagnosed has helped me understand what my body has been going through and given me peace of mind that it’s not all in my head - I was right in thinking I shouldn't have been feeling like this and there was something wrong.
Being diagnosed has led me to endometriosis forums where I can talk openly about living with endometriosis to others who understand, and it's been extremely helpful having that support system.