For years women pleaded with their doctors to take their pain seriously, but now we know what endometriosis is, are we talking about it enough?
For the duration of March, Endometriosis Awareness Month aims to highlight women’s stories and experiences to create more awareness around the disorder that cripples one in 10 women all over the country.
Endometriosis is when the cells that line the uterus grow in places outside the uterus, like on the ovaries, bowel and pelvis.
For many this causes physical pain, the need for constant medical attention and surgeries, and can lead to infertility.
For 22-year-old Werrington County resident, Maddi Skinner, this is a reality she faces every day.
First showing symptoms at 15, it wasn’t until two years later that she finally got her proper endometriosis diagnosis.
“I had a laparoscopy to remove my appendix as I had suspected appendicitis after spending three days unwell in emergency, but the surgeon found I didn’t actually have appendicitis. I had been suffering with endometriosis,” she said.
“So back to theatre I went to have my first excision of endometriosis, which was scary, because I had no idea how horrible this disease would become and what I was going to be facing.”
Ms Skinner described the pain as feeling like her entire body was being turned inside out with a hot knife.
Since her diagnosis she has undergone five surgeries and, just last week, she was admitted to hospital due to a flare up.
“Being admitted to hospital does happen often as the pain becomes so unbearable I mentally get to the point of not being able to take it anymore,” Ms Skinner said.
She said the hardest part about having endometriosis is knowing there is no cure, dealing with the pain and the fear of infertility.
“I just want to say to other young girls or women, if your periods are causing extreme, unbearable pain, get advice from a gynecologist, speak up and don’t suffer alone because there are so many of us,” Ms Skinner said.
“So many women go so long without being diagnosed and getting the help and management they not only need but deserve.”
For more information about endometriosis, head online and visit www.endometriosisaustralia.org.
A graduate of Western Sydney University, Nicola Barton is a news journalist with the Western Weekender, primarily covering crime and politics.