Something happened today that brought back loads of memories.
From time to time an email turns up in my account from change.org. I always look at the latest petition and see what I think. I don’t support them all because I would spend my life signing them but today…today was different. It was concerning endometriosis and the fact that Endometriosis UK want to get a faster diagnosis for women and better education amongst medical professionals.
I was diagnosed with this condition over 20 years ago but it took them a good 4 years to find out what was wrong. The doctors had no clue of what to do about the pain I was in. At one stage I was told I may have an ectopic pregnancy despite the fact that I told them there was no way this could be the case.
If you haven’t heard of endometriosis, it is a condition that affects women where the endometrial cells which line the womb migrate to other parts of the body. Each month these cells react the same way to those in the womb, building up and then breaking down in line with a woman’s cycle and, because they are not enclosed in the womb, the blood has no way of escaping.
It can be debilitating causing heavy and painful periods and, in some cases that I know of, women are consigned to wheelchairs. It can cause infertility, fatigue and bowel and bladder issues as some of the cells can stick the internal organs together.
I remember distinctly the first time I found out about endometriosis. I was sitting in the gynaecological waiting room of the Royal Surrey Hospital in Guildford. There was a leaflet that caught my eye and I started to read it. It sounded just like me. When I went in to see the consultant, I took the leaflet with me and showed it to him, explaining how I felt.
As a result, I was booked in for a laparoscopy. This involves a camera being inserted through the belly button under general anaesthetic. When I came round, the nurse explained to me that I had endometriosis on the ligament supporting the left hand side of my womb.
I was given Danazol at the time but it caused me so many problems that I reverted to taking the pill without a break to prevent any periods. This seemed to help. It also helped that I knew what I had and, as a result, found it easier to manage the pain.
The thing is that I would have thought that after 20 years, the awareness and understanding of endometriosis would have improved but sadly this does not seem to be the case. When I shared the petition on my Facebook timeline I had a number of ladies comment on the post. Those that I hadn’t even realised were fellow sufferers. The majority of them all informed me that it had taken them years to receive a diagnosis – one of them, a fellow blogger, went left untreated for 20 years.
The other thing that beggars belief is the fact that 1.5 million women in the UK suffer from endometriosis. That is one in ten. An astounding figure. Surely by now the medical profession should be far more advanced than they were 20 years ago but it would appear that they are not.
You may recall that I supported the launch of the Medical Innovation Bill by Maurice Saatchi back in September 2013. Finally, on Friday last week, it got passed through to the House of Commons and is on the verge of becoming law. I am hoping that endometriosis will be something that can be part of the medical investigations that this will allow.
In the meantime, Endometriosis UK need your support. They need 100,000 signatures on a petition to call on MPs to debate this matter in parliament.
Please click on this link and go and sign it…and help the 1.5 million women – and those who remain undiagnosed.