Trigger Warning: mention of suicide and self-harm.
The first time I came across the word Endometriosis I must have been in my early twenties. The actor Lena Dunham shared in an Instagram post that she had to get to the ER on a regular basis because of her painful periods caused by Endometriosis.
Endometriosis is a condition where cells similar to the ones in the lining of the uterus are found in other parts of the body. These cells react in the same way as those in the womb, meaning they build up, then break down and bleed. However, unlike the cells in the uterus that leave the body as menstrual blood, this blood has no way of exiting the body.
Symptoms include painful periods, chronic (pelvic) pain, painful bowel movement and/or urination, dyspareunia (pain during sex), fatigue, depression, infertility etc. Endometriosis affects around 1.5 million women, non-binary people and transgender men in the UK.*
I remember a part of me thought: what if I have that too? At that point, I had been struggling with painful periods for 10 years already.