We’re sure that you’ve heard about endometriosis – a condition whereby the cells similar to those that line the uterus, grow outside of it. You know that it affects 1 in 10 women, and you know that it HURTS! But, what you may not know is what it’s like to actually live with this debilitating condition. To open our eyes further into the reality that many women endure, we sat down and listened to the inspiring story of endo-warrior and founder of the endometriosis support network @endogirlgang, Emily Doherty.
Prior to her diagnosis, extremely painful periods were just another part of life for Emily. Her Mum and friends spoke of their period pain, so she thought her experiences must also be totally normal! And while endometriosis was a condition Emily had heard of before, she wasn’t really aware of the finer details.
As it turned out, Emily soon discovered that the pain she was feeling was FAR from normal. For somebody suffering from endometriosis, period pain means more than just a lowkey night in with Netflix and a block of Cadbury. Along with generalised abdominal pain, varying from mild to severe, Emily often suffers from “profuse sweating, the feeling of going to faint and the need to curl up in a ball and cry from pain.” She finds these symptoms are their worst at the beginning of her period; fortunately they decrease after 1-2 days to a more ‘bearable’ pain. Throughout the rest of her cycle, Emily usually gets ovulation pain of varying intensity. She also frequently experiences fatigue, migraines, pain with passing urine and bowel motions, and pain in the back, hips and legs. Imagine how incredibly tough this would be to live with!
Emily’s diagnosis came about during an emergency surgery to remove an ovarian cyst. Initially, she was absolutely shocked over the news – as any of us would be! But as the shock began to fade, she saw it as a blessing in disguise. Emily is thankful that her endo was caught in its early stages, allowing her to seek treatment before it progressed further. While her optimism and strength inspires us to no end, Emily sadly says that “the burden of endometriosis is far reaching. This condition has had a physical, psychological and financial impact on my life.”
So, how exactly does Emily cope with being in pain so frequently? Along with taking painkillers and using a heat pack to ease the physical symptoms, she finds the mental strength to push through thanks to her amazing family, friends and endometriosis support network – @endogirlgang. Everyday her inbox is overflowing with messages from women who are so thankful that they’ve found her platform! This has made Emily realise that she is “not alone in this battle. There is an incredible community of women out there offering their support and advocating for more awareness, research and funding.” Although she says it’s pretty tough to maintain a positive attitude through all the pain, she always reminds herself that it’s not a terminal condition and that tragically, many people do have it worse than her.
After hearing about Emily’s touching struggles and inspiring resilience, we were so ready to listen to her invaluable advice: “My top piece of advice would be that you know your body best. Despite the roadblocks that you may encounter, there are so many professionals that will believe you and want to help you. Don’t settle until you have answers.” And how can you support someone with endometriosis? “Being a good listener, keeping in contact and showing that you care will be immensely beneficial.”
So ladies, we hope that by reading Emily’s story, you’ve gained a further perspective on the many challenges living with endometriosis brings! Whether this helps you to better understand what the endo-warriors close to you go through on a daily basis, or to perhaps even relate to your own experiences, continuing to spread awareness about this terrible condition helps with improving diagnosis and treatments. If you’d like to continue spreading the word, link Emily’s story in the group chat, follow and share her amazing endometriosis support network @endogirlgang, and learn some more about Emily at @emilydoherty_.
Love, Libra x
Where to go for more information, support or help?
Your GP is always the best starting point. You can also find information from Endometriosis Care Centre of Australia.
Anything else? Asaleo Care makes no warranties or representations regarding the completeness or accuracy of the information. This information should be used only as a guide and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional, medical or other health professional advice.