Jakia shares her story.
"I started my period at 9 years old and we hadn't had 'the chat' at school yet. I thought I was dying. Since then, my pains were frequent and my periods painful and heavy.
Back then, the only treatment offered was to be put on the pill. It helped slightly, but the pains got worse and I wasn't any closer to getting answers.
Fast forward a few years and my absences from work were getting worse. I would have to ring and explain how I couldn't stand up or had heavy bleeding. Discussing with senior managers why my absences were so frequent was nothing short of embarrassing.
I am now 40 years old, have had three surgeries and have diagnosed endometriosis and adenomyosis. Coming from an Asian background, talking about this, or anything gynecological/sexual health related had always felt taboo and many of us would only get information from the classes provided during the last years of junior school. When seeking advice, I was fobbed off and asked varying questions of 'why wasn't I married?', 'don't you want children?'.
This prompted me to be more open about having my condition. I feel more dialogue and transparency is required to be open about these issues, so that we are prepared from a young age. Luckily, I met support group leaders and joined my local group, and I haven't looked back since. Having like-minded sufferers is a comfort and not having to explain why you feel rubbish, or low made things feel easier.
Currently, I am undergoing induced medical menopause, with an impending hysterectomy*. I am pleased now to have a medical team who are empathetic and considerate and do not judge me based on my age and ethnicity."
Thank you Jakia for sharing your story.
Discussing endometriosis is not always easy. If you feel that talking to someone with lived experience may help, our support services, run by trained volunteers are here for you. Find out more here.
*Treatment and management options for endometriosis vary from person to person, it is always best to discuss your unique needs with your healthcare team.