Endometriosis Awareness Month is encouraging women to speak up about their experiences to end the silence surrounding the disease.
At 13-years-old, Penrith’s Lauren Jones was diagnosed with endometriosis, growing up with intense pain and the fear of never being able to have children.
Now 27, Ms Jones is hopeful that she will be able to start her own family as endometriosis becomes more understood.
“At first I really just didn’t actually care. I had no idea what it was,” Ms Jones said.
“All up I have had 11 surgeries.”
Endometriosis is when the cells that line the uterus grow in places outside the uterus, such as the pelvis.
One in 10 women of reproductive age are affected by the condition that can cause months of ongoing physical pain.
“I missed out on a significant amount of school,” she said.
“Recovery varied from three days to a month in hospital depending on complications.
“I’ve had my stitches open at my belly button before, I’ve been stapled, I’ve been off work for an entire school term just from surgery.”
Her most recent surgery, a laparoscopic excision, was different to the previous laser burning method Ms Jones had undergone.
Since then, she has suffered had almost no side affects.
“It’s really relieving to think that I can have a life,” she said.
Ms Jones said that each day is a struggle as many people don’t understand that some days it’s difficult to get out of bed.
“Even simple things like going on a date are hard, because so often you don’t feel like going on a date because you just can’t get up,” she said.
“Now I’m pretty hopeful to find someone, because I won’t be out of action for 10 months of the year.”
Treatments work differently for individuals with endometriosis making the disease difficult to treat and manage.
“If it was more openly discussed, there would be more awareness for people to understand more,” Ms Jones said.
For the month of March, Endometriosis Australia encourages people to wear yellow to support women with endometriosis.