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Women's Health Week Special: A story about Endometriosis

Women's Health Week Special: A story about Endometriosis

Written by
Lauren Mason
Sep 7, 2021

Aleisha was seemingly a fit and healthy young woman with the world at her feet. Having just recently started a new career, regularly tackling charitable fitness challenges and the prospect of moving to a new town for work she was at the top of her game. Yet, something didn’t feel quite right in her body.

Aleisha had always eaten well, exercised regularly and taken time for self care. Additionally, she regularly checked in with her naturopath and was very aware of ensuring her hormone health was optimal. Yet, no matter how many helpful habits she implemented for her health she always had terrible period pain. As women, we often do a lot of reading about what constitutes the optimal diet for healthy hormones in the hopes of a healthy period as the outcome. Aleisha was no different and had tried several tweaks to her diet to see if this would make any difference to her pain, to no avail. It turns out after a visit to the GP and then several specialists afterward there was something more sinister underlying her monthly pain. This is Aleisha’s endometriosis story.

Aleisha’s Story

I want to share my story so others feel encouraged to seek medical advice.

At the start of 2020 I went to the Doctor with complaints of bad period pain. I had previously been on the contraceptive pill for 10 years, stopped it in 2017, and didn’t have a period for over a year. When they started in 2018 the pain was intense. I visited the doctor in 2019 but the ball didn’t get rolling until 2020. An ultrasound showed that one of my ovaries was 3cm larger than the other. A blood test showed I had a high tumour indicator reading for Pancreas, Bowel and Ovarian Cancers. A normal ready is 0-40, mine was at 292. Another blood test had an elevated tumour indicator of 610.

I was referred to a Gynaecologist and a Liver and Pancreas Cancer specialist. I was sent for biopsies a CAT scan and an MRI. I was told they were looking for something.

However, they couldn’t find anything.

Cancer... a word that left my mind muddled. In 2019 I lost my Granddad and my Aunty to cancer. My family didn’t need anyone else to have cancer. This was all during the Covid lockdown frenzy, so I couldn’t bring anyone to appointments with me, I couldn’t visit family to de-brief. I literally went it alone and continued to go to work (which was a distraction). I would have to write questions down on paper before my appointments so I would remember what to ask.

The biopsy results came back with Endometriosis. The CAT scan and MRI showed nothing. Ok so I had a diagnosis, I felt somewhat relieved. Now I can get treatment and be cured. It was like a slap to the face when the Gynaecologist told me there is no cure and I will live with this for the rest of my life. I was told that I could only slow down the Endo growth by manipulating my hormones, I could get a laparoscopy and get the Endo cut out but it will eventually grow back.

I knew nothing about Endo. The more I read about Endo the more upset I became. The more I realised I had been lucky to catch it early like I did. I have been treated for the Endo and subsequently my hormones have been manipulated. The tumour indicators came right down to 28. I was told that as the Endo was growing it was releasing a protein in my blood, this protein spiked the tumour indicator reading. With the Endo and hormones suppressed the tumour indicator went to a normal level.

Now I am an Endo Warrior, hoping that there will be more funding for research and finding a cure.

What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis or endo is a chronic condition where the cells lining the uterus are in other areas of the body. The cells growing outside of the uterus form lesions that leak fluid and bleed at the time of the period. Unfortunately this can lead to scarring and inflammation which can be very painful for a lot of women.

The Symptoms

Pain

Women with endo often experience pain before and during their period. Ovulation pain is also more pronounced and can be felt in the thigh or leg. Additionally, sex can be painful, as well as going to the toilet at certain points in a woman’s menstrual cycle.

Bleeding

Periods are typically heavier and can be longer for women with endo. On the flipside periods can be irregular and some women experience bleeding during other windows of their cycle.

Bladder and Bowel Problems

Some women experience chronic constipation or diarrhoea. Others also experience bleeding when having bowel movements.

Bloating

Increased abdominal bloating during periods.

Treatment/ Management Options

Women with endometriosis are most often referred to a specialist gynaecologist. The severity of the endometriosis typically dictates the type of treatment prescribed. Women who suffer from severe forms of endometriosis may be required to have surgery based on their individual circumstances. Others may be able to manage via healthy lifestyle measures (good sleep, stress management and physical activity), pain relief medication or hormone therapy.

For a comprehensive overview of treatment options Click Here.

Women's Health Week Special: A story about Endometriosis

September 7, 2021

Aleisha was seemingly a fit and healthy young woman with the world at her feet. Having just recently started a new career, regularly tackling charitable fitness challenges and the prospect of moving to a new town for work she was at the top of her game. Yet, something didn’t feel quite right in her body.

Aleisha had always eaten well, exercised regularly and taken time for self care. Additionally, she regularly checked in with her naturopath and was very aware of ensuring her hormone health was optimal. Yet, no matter how many helpful habits she implemented for her health she always had terrible period pain. As women, we often do a lot of reading about what constitutes the optimal diet for healthy hormones in the hopes of a healthy period as the outcome. Aleisha was no different and had tried several tweaks to her diet to see if this would make any difference to her pain, to no avail. It turns out after a visit to the GP and then several specialists afterward there was something more sinister underlying her monthly pain. This is Aleisha’s endometriosis story.

Aleisha’s Story

I want to share my story so others feel encouraged to seek medical advice.

At the start of 2020 I went to the Doctor with complaints of bad period pain. I had previously been on the contraceptive pill for 10 years, stopped it in 2017, and didn’t have a period for over a year. When they started in 2018 the pain was intense. I visited the doctor in 2019 but the ball didn’t get rolling until 2020. An ultrasound showed that one of my ovaries was 3cm larger than the other. A blood test showed I had a high tumour indicator reading for Pancreas, Bowel and Ovarian Cancers. A normal ready is 0-40, mine was at 292. Another blood test had an elevated tumour indicator of 610.

I was referred to a Gynaecologist and a Liver and Pancreas Cancer specialist. I was sent for biopsies a CAT scan and an MRI. I was told they were looking for something.

However, they couldn’t find anything.

Cancer... a word that left my mind muddled. In 2019 I lost my Granddad and my Aunty to cancer. My family didn’t need anyone else to have cancer. This was all during the Covid lockdown frenzy, so I couldn’t bring anyone to appointments with me, I couldn’t visit family to de-brief. I literally went it alone and continued to go to work (which was a distraction). I would have to write questions down on paper before my appointments so I would remember what to ask.

The biopsy results came back with Endometriosis. The CAT scan and MRI showed nothing. Ok so I had a diagnosis, I felt somewhat relieved. Now I can get treatment and be cured. It was like a slap to the face when the Gynaecologist told me there is no cure and I will live with this for the rest of my life. I was told that I could only slow down the Endo growth by manipulating my hormones, I could get a laparoscopy and get the Endo cut out but it will eventually grow back.

I knew nothing about Endo. The more I read about Endo the more upset I became. The more I realised I had been lucky to catch it early like I did. I have been treated for the Endo and subsequently my hormones have been manipulated. The tumour indicators came right down to 28. I was told that as the Endo was growing it was releasing a protein in my blood, this protein spiked the tumour indicator reading. With the Endo and hormones suppressed the tumour indicator went to a normal level.

Now I am an Endo Warrior, hoping that there will be more funding for research and finding a cure.

What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis or endo is a chronic condition where the cells lining the uterus are in other areas of the body. The cells growing outside of the uterus form lesions that leak fluid and bleed at the time of the period. Unfortunately this can lead to scarring and inflammation which can be very painful for a lot of women.

The Symptoms

Pain

Women with endo often experience pain before and during their period. Ovulation pain is also more pronounced and can be felt in the thigh or leg. Additionally, sex can be painful, as well as going to the toilet at certain points in a woman’s menstrual cycle.

Bleeding

Periods are typically heavier and can be longer for women with endo. On the flipside periods can be irregular and some women experience bleeding during other windows of their cycle.

Bladder and Bowel Problems

Some women experience chronic constipation or diarrhoea. Others also experience bleeding when having bowel movements.

Bloating

Increased abdominal bloating during periods.

Treatment/ Management Options

Women with endometriosis are most often referred to a specialist gynaecologist. The severity of the endometriosis typically dictates the type of treatment prescribed. Women who suffer from severe forms of endometriosis may be required to have surgery based on their individual circumstances. Others may be able to manage via healthy lifestyle measures (good sleep, stress management and physical activity), pain relief medication or hormone therapy.

For a comprehensive overview of treatment options Click Here.