I got my first period when I was 11 years old. I was in history class, and started feeling really sick. My pelvic area felt like something was attacking it with knives. I remember excusing myself to go to the restroom because it hurt so much. A teacher found me sitting on the floor, crying. She explained to me it was “normal” for periods to feel this way, and sent me home.
Every month after that, I’d get my period, followed by crippling pain. It was hard to function for at least 2 days because it hurt so much. My mother told me it was all in my head, and would try to make me go to school. Since we had no family history of painful periods, she figured I was making it up.
I didn’t talk about my symptoms at doctor appointments until I was 18. I couldn’t take the pain anymore. My periods had become heavier and heavier, and I had started having pelvic pain in between periods. My doctor recommended a laparoscopy to see what was going on. We discovered I had endometriosis.
After that diagnosis, we decided to try different treatment options to see what worked for me. I took over-the-counter painkillers and birth control, but I was still in pain. When I was 30, my doctor suggested a partial hysterectomy. I spent 2 years thinking about it but, in the end, decided to go through with it.
It’s been a long journey with endometriosis pain. But I want women to know how important it is to speak up about your symptoms. Make sure you share everything with your doctors so they can help. I wish I did sooner!
This story was submitted by a real woman and reflects her personal experience. It does not reflect AbbVie’s thoughts, opinions, or beliefs. Before making any changes to your treatment or lifestyle, consult with a physician.