I’m only 21, and have dealt with painful periods for years. I never really talked about my pain, because I thought it was “normal.” Why would I make a big deal about something every woman has to live with? My periods lasted anywhere from 7 to 10 days with severe bleeding. My cramps were out of this world—it’d be so hard to breathe at times. But I kept letting it go.
When I started a serious relationship, I finally decided to see my primary care physician—but only to get birth control. I didn’t even think about visiting a specialist for my period pain. But then, I started experiencing pain during sex, and realized something needed to change. One night, I literally woke up from a dead sleep, in pain, crying and hyperventilating. I later mentioned my pain to my mother, and we decided it was time to see a gynecologist.
The doctor I went to was amazing. She was so focused on figuring out what was going on. She asked questions I didn’t even think could be related to the reproductive system, like my painful bowel movements. According to her, this could be a sign of a condition called endometriosis, something I’d never heard of before. She recommended a laparoscopic surgery to diagnose what the pain was.
A few months later, I got the official answer. My gynecologist was right—it was endo. It’s been overwhelming at times and a reality I never dreamed about experiencing. I think endometriosis just needs to be taken day by day. I’m so happy I found the right doctor, and want to encourage others to talk about their symptoms and what they are experiencing. This disease is not spoken about enough.
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.