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Sarah was diagnosed with moderate endometriosis in 2009, three months before her wedding day after suffering with endometriosis symptoms for one year.
“Nobody should be frightened to be assertive and appropriately persistent about their health concerns.”
I’d been experiencing increasingly severe pelvic pain throughout the month, gastric pain and bloating, lower back pain and very bad period pain for about a year. As the months went by the pain began to have a significant effect on my daily life, with me often bent double and struggling to walk on the evenings.
Because my symptoms lasted all month and my periods were regular and not heavy, my GP felt there was no gynaecological issue. When both an ultrasound and a colonoscopy failed to show anything abnormal, the doctors began to imply my condition was entirely psychosomatic! It was a very stressful and frustrating period of time for me. I knew my symptoms were not normal and were worsening. I became very worried that something serious had been missed. I had also been trying for a baby for around a year with no success and worried that this was connected to my symptoms.
How I got diagnosed
Rather than continue with this stressful situation, I made the decision to change GP practice and this turned out to be a great move. After sharing what I’d been experiencing, it was suggested that I may have endometriosis and I was immediately referred for an outpatient gynae appointment.
After performing an examination and hearing my history, the consultant suggested a diagnostic laparoscopy. This was performed a couple of months later. Small implants were found in several places at the back of my uterus, on my utero-sacral ligaments and in the Pouch of Douglas. I wasn’t surprised when endometriosis was confirmed. I had done lots of reading already on the Endometriosis UK website after it was mentioned by my new GP and was fairly convinced I had the condition. In total it took about a year to be diagnosed with endometriosis.
Following my diagnosis
I took the progesterone-only pill for a three month period up to my wedding then came off and immediately became pregnant. I remained symptom free until well after my second child was born in July 2012, the pregnancies having had a dramatic effect on my pain levels.
I am unfortunately awaiting further referral to the pelvic pain clinic as my symptoms are returning. At least knowing what is causing my symptoms also allows me to seek and use appropriate pain relief from my GP and to plan ahead with this condition in mind.
Nobody should be frightened to be assertive and appropriately persistent about their health concerns. Endometriosis is a complicated condition and can obviously present in many different ways; I was very lucky to be diagnosed so quickly.
The impact this condition was having on my physical and emotional well-being and the uncertainty about what was causing my pain was awful. If I hadn’t persisted in the way I did I may not have regained my fertility or been able to have treatment so quickly. I hope that other women can take some hope from my story in that although this is not a pleasant diagnosis to receive, knowledge is power and knowing what you are working with can allow you to move forward.