When I started writing this article, I was going to write about when the right time to see a doctor about severe menstrual symptoms was. However, I was also thinking, 'hmm, if it weren't for COVID, I'd be going to the Emergency Room right now.' I don't know what then possessed me to text my mom this sentence (I'm an only child), and she asked if I wanted to go to an urgent care clinic. I wondered if I should, as I was curled into a ball in the fetal position on the floor, uncontrollably crying.
It still took some debating before I finally decided it was best that I go get this checked out, as this was the fourth day I was feeling this way.
So, I packed a bag for myself and a backpack for my dog to leave her with a friend. I then drove myself to the Emergency Room, and cried to the receptionist, attempting to tell her the pain I was in. I was in so much pain and nervous as to what would happen next, it took me a little bit before I could finally get my words out. I filled out some quick paperwork and was seen right away.
After then crying to the nurse and doctor, they decided to do some bloodwork and labs to make sure nothing was out of the ordinary - aside from the unbearable pain I was in. Thankfully, they administered a shot with some pain medication and prescribed me some heavy-duty pain reliever. The doctor and nurse were absolutely amazing, and they both listened to everything I had to say.
The doctor asked a few questions and said this sounded like endometriosis, which in short, is a *painful* disorder of the uterus that can spread to other reproductive organs. I had an idea this is what it could possibly be, I've had people telling me to get screened for years. Though it took me a while, I did eventually try speaking to my doctors about it, only to get brushed off repeatedly.
"Oh, you'll grow out of it," one doctor said. "Here's some birth control we can try first," another doctor said. I was always nervous to even bring it up in the first place, and when I did, I was always brushed off or given a new form of birth control.
Well, my first period was when I was ten years old, I'm now twenty, and it does not get better. If anything, it's definitely gotten worse. I've tried teas, birth control, both OTC and prescription pain medication, heating pads, hot showers, exercise (which only makes it worse for me), reducing certain foods, and plenty of rest, yet nothing is working. I often miss events and classes because of my periods, and now that I'm in college, I can't afford to do that anymore.
I knew at some point I had to get this taken care of, but I simply waited too long. Instead, my body sent me a very painful message that it was time to get this checked out. I didn't make myself be heard at these doctor appointments, but that is a mistake I will never make again. My emergency room doctor was nothing short of a God-sent. He listened to my symptoms and asked if my periods had always been this bad, he couldn't fathom me dealing with this for so long. When I told them they were, he right away said this sounded like endometriosis, and I needed to get an appointment ASAP.
When I was discharged he sent me home with a few numbers to call so that I could schedule an appointment and gave me information on this condition and painful periods (dysmenorrhea). Since I've been discharged, I've been taking it very easy as too much movement sends me back into pain. I am very happy to report I have a doctor's appointment within the next couple of days to finally get to the bottom of my pain.
Though I'm still unclear as to why I was suddenly in so much pain I had to go to the emergency room, I hope this can be a wake-up call to all of my pals with reproductive organs out there: Listen to your body, and don't let your pain go unchecked.
Have a conversation with your doctor, SpeakEndo has great information on endometriosis and how to start a dialogue with your healthcare professional. If your doctor is attempting to brush you off or doesn't take your pain seriously, make yourself heard. This is your body, and you know the amount of pain you're in.
Stay tuned for my next article on my journey with my menstrual symptoms!
A special thanks to Signature Care ER, my friends for all of the love and support (and taking care of my dog), my boyfriend for taking care of me, and my family who's with me even from 350+ miles away.