by Meg Gibson, L.Ac.
As March begins and the weather starts to change there’s a sense of hope in the air. Hope that spring and warmer weather will be here soon, flowers will start to bloom and grass will turn green. Crocuses and daffodils start the season followed by…yellow tutus?
This March 19 women across the world in many cities will march in the World EndoMarch for Endometriosis Awareness. Although seemingly uncommon, this challenging condition affects an estimated 1 in 10 women and girls, usually of reproductive age, which adds up to about 200 million women worldwide. To put this number in perspective that’s about ten times the prevalence of autism! Unfortunately, due to unacceptably lengthy diagnostic delays, women can suffer with the debilitating pain, associated infertility and higher rates of depression that can result from the condition. Often misdiagnosed as “painful periods,” endometriosis has a significant social cost and studies have repeatedly shown endometriosis to impact the quality of life and work productivity in women.
Three years ago a group of physicians founded of the Worldwide EndoMarch. This walk brings women together to take action and launch a global movement, allowing sufferers and supporters to spread the word that endometriosis is not just ‘bad cramps’, but is actually a devastating disease with potentially severe consequences such as infertility if left untreated. And the walk has gone virtual, with supporters invited to host “ Yellow Tutu Tea Parties” from their homes or on Facebook.
Encouraged by this amazing movement, I wanted to share my story to help bring awareness and give women a voice and be their own advocate. For years, I complained to my OBGYN about the pain I was experiencing each month. In the days leading up to my period I would have pain so bad I felt like I was going to pass out. I would be on the verge of getting sick because the pain was so sharp, intense and debilitating. I would lay in a ball, sobbing hysterically, begging my husband to put me out of my misery. When I spoke to my doctor I would tell her this wasn’t just cramps – this was something else, something was wrong. My mother had endometriosis and based on the symptoms I was certain I did too. My OB, on the other hand, disagreed and diagnosed dysmenorrhea – painful periods.
But this wasn’t the discomfort or cramping some of my girlfriends experienced. This was pain so bad my vision would go black and I thought for sure I’d pass out. This was pain so bad I couldn’t walk for hours. I wanted more tests to be run because I knew something wasn’t right. In September 2015 I went to Fertility Centers of Illinois for my Fertility Awareness Check-up , the check-up included an ultrasound and blood work, something I was hopeful would shed some light on my situation. When the nurse called with my results, I wasn’t surprised but I was upset. The scan found two huge endometriomas on each ovary. I had endometriosis and needed surgery. I felt angry and let down by my OBGYN but finally my symptoms had been validated. I had surgery later that month and they removed stage 4 endometriosis. I am happy to report that I have been pain free ever since.
Ladies, know our bodies and we know when something isn’t right. Take action, get the answers you are looking for, get a second opinion, be your own advocate. If you head in to Pulling Down the Moon you may see us wearing yellow tutus over our lab coats this month and we hope you’ll sport one too. If you do, tag Pulling Down the Moon and we’ll share on our social. Join the movement of Endometriosis Awareness Month and wear your tutu today!
P.S. Yellow tutus are selling out on Amazon…so get yours quick!
Meg Gibson is a Licensed Acupuncturist at Pulling Down the Moon in Chicago. She specializes in the treatment of women’s health and fertility. For more information about Meg and the services available at Pulling Down the Moon visit pullingdownthemoon.com or call 312-321-0004 (Chicago) or 301-610-7755 Washington D.C. Metro.