I spoke to a few Nigerian women living with Endometriosis and these are their stories.
I started feeling this random pelvic pain in late 2018 that prompted me to go to the hospital. I was asked to do a series of tests and abdominal scans that indicated I had an ovarian cyst which needed to be taken out ASAP.
A couple of weeks after the surgery (December 2018), the pain returned so I went back to the hospital to complain. I had a laparoscopy and I got diagnosed with endometriosis in January 2019.
I was placed on Lupron for six months to regulate my hormones and my diet was changed. I had to stop eating anything that contains gluten, milk, eggs, soda, etc.
Personally, I noticed milk causes my system to flare up. Also, I’m currently on birth control to regulate my hormones, which makes me add weight and it messes with my mood.
I don’t even bother with sex because it’s extremely painful.
It's been a tough journey. Endometriosis is extremely painful and nothing prepares you for the flare. It’s also very expensive to maintain since there’s no cure. I’ve had three laparoscopies since diagnosis in 2019 and trust me they aren’t cheap.
There’s also the fear of infertility that comes once in a while but I’ve chosen to trust God on that.
From when I was really young I noticed I had painful periods that only got worse with age. I would be visibly pale and weak during periods. As I grew older, I assumed it was fibroid.
Before I got married I was placed on oral contraceptives to try to regulate and reduce the frequency of my periods.
After I got married and wanted to try for children, I was advised to do surgery to remove the fibroids.
It was during the surgery that I was diagnosed with endometriosis. They said my ovaries were stuck to my back, which explained the excruciating back pain I usually had, especially during periods. Interestingly the fibroids were tiny and of no threat. Apparently, the endometriosis had presented as fibroids.
Diet-wise I needed to eat things that were rich in iron, less red meat and more fruits. A lot of water was recommended and I was placed on certain medications.
The painful tests were bad enough but I also had to go through certain tests that just left me feeling violated. I've some people say that the management process is easier to bear in places like the USA.
Honestly, I got to a place where I just stopped trying because my life was on hold while trying to manage this condition.
Sometime after that, I was miraculously pregnant (after being told to consider IVF or a surrogate). Due to my medical history, the pregnancy was considered high risk from the onset, but God was good and faithful and today I have a son.
Now I am able to manage myself and the situation.
I've always had really painful periods and I have always been told it's because of too much sugar. It wasn’t until I watched a Buzzfeed video in 2015/2016 that I saw all my symptoms and it was given a name. Two years later, I confirmed that I've got endometriosis.
Previously, I had gone to doctors, both in Nigeria and the UK, and they just placed me on a lot of drugs. It was my mum's doctor who delivered me as a baby that later diagnosed me. I told him my symptoms and he recognized that they were similar to my mum’s. He had me do ultrasounds and confirmed my endometriosis.
Immediately, I was put on birth control and an anti-inflammatory diet plan and as long as I follow that plan, I am okay. The diet plan requires me to avoid red meat, carbs, soda, bread and now I no longer have to go to the hospital every time I have periods and I don't miss important life events anymore.
To be honest, I stray with my food sometimes because that diet is not sustainable for the busy life I live. Of course, I pay for it when I stray it but sometimes I don’t. However, I've learnt to avoid red meat and trans-fat, and eat a lot of vegetables.
I was diagnosed with endometriosis in 2019. I had a really bad stomach ache and I couldn’t breathe or walk well for days.
The hospital couldn’t figure out what was wrong; they initially thought it was appendicitis but it wasn’t, so they sent me home.
A while after, I did other tests when the pain came back and I found out. It turned out that my mum had the same condition.
My periods were literally hellish. I read a lot of articles to get some solution. They said to stop taking caffeine and other stuff but nothing worked.
Eventually, my parents got tired of seeing me suffer so they took me to see an OB/GYN (obstetrician-gynaecologist)
She gave me birth control but that messed up my blood pressure among other things so I had to stop.
I saw another doctor and she started telling me how I needed to get married soon because of fertility and we discussed another contraceptive.
I was meant to go back to get it but I never did. I started working out and the pain has become bearable.
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