• Monica Rivera

Endometriosis Awareness Month

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month. On March 28, marches are held all around the world to walk in support of the women that battle with endometriosis every day. If there isn’t a march in your area, there is also a virtual march where you can watch it live and participate in that sense.

The color for endometriosis is yellow. Before I was diagnosed, yellow did not have any significance, but now the yellow ribbons that represent all of us make me feel calm and at peace. It creates a sense of solidarity and gives me reassurance in knowing I’m not alone.

Endometriosis is a disorder where the tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside the uterus. According to a Healthline article that was reviewed by Valinda Riggins Nwadike MD, MPH: “Endometriosis is a chronic condition with no cure. This doesn't mean the condition has to impact your daily life. Effective treatments are available to manage pain and fertility issues, such as medications, hormone therapy, and surgery. The symptoms of endometriosis usually improve after menopause.”

One in 10 women have endometriosis, and some women suffer from the disease but are unaware of their condition. The symptoms resemble common menstrual cramping. Endometriosis creates severe discomfort and random mood swings.

I was diagnosed with endometriosis in September of 2018. I was in pain day and night, so much that I had to bring a heating pad to class with me. I’ve talked to several doctors and all of them have said the symptoms get so painful that it is compared to being in labor. Honestly, it makes a lot of sense because I get weird cravings and pains similar to what a lot of women in labor say happens. About 30- to-40% of women with endometriosis have some trouble conceiving, but endometrial implants may grow, or cysts may develop, which also causes fertility problems.

When I was diagnosed, I checked to see if any famous athletes had it to feel like I wasn’t alone. I found out Olympic swimmer Emily Seebohm delayed her surgery so she could compete in the Olympics. She said in an interview, “It was more of a mental battle for me than a physical one. The days I felt so sick that I didn’t want to go to training were hard.”

I can relate to this feeling because every day it’s hard to push yourself — plus having those sick spells makes it worse. In general, I think endometriosis is a mental struggle for those diagnosed with it; you have to fight the urges to want to just sleep and do nothing all day. I am very thankful that my family and friends are very understanding when it comes to how I’m feeling and knowing what a good and bad day looks like for me.

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