BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Here at 23ABC we like to cover all topics affecting the community including health. This week we take a closer look at endometriosis, a condition that many women may not know they have.
“Endometriosis is a disease of women. It causes pain all throughout their pelvis. What it is some of the inside of the uterus that is only supposed to be on the inside of the uterus is naturally present outside so within the belly this causes pain,” said Dr. Roxanne McDermott, Medical doctor/OBGYN at Clinica Sierra Vista.
Dr. McDermott said that many people may not be aware that they have endometriosis but actually 1 in 10 women are affected by it.
This was case for Robyn Wright: “I did not go immediately. I heard the whole ‘I know, I know honey it hurts, you’ll get through it. You’ll get used to it. It gets better, any day now.’ But it didn’t get better for me, it got worse.”
Wright said it took her being rushed to the hospital twice thinking she had appendicitis until doctors started to dig deeper.
After her diagnoses she tried several treatments.
“The way to either stop it in its tracks, or slow it down, is hormonal contraception. We think of contraception as birth control but really, it's hormones trying to affect your body to slow this process down,” said Dr. McDermott.
For Wright this worked for a little while but eventually she had to have a total hysterectomy.
“It was a part of me that was like ‘yay we’re finally going to do something, and I don't have to feel this way anymore’ but another part of me was like no chance of another child.”
Because of her endometriosis, Wright struggled at first to get pregnant and once pregnant she was considered high risk.
Wright said each woman's path will be different and the most important thing to do is to see your doctor. When you go, make sure to have a journal documenting your cycles and pain levels.
Dr. Austin Merrill Associate Physician at Kaiser Permanente with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology said, “I think unfortunately women are under the impression that menstrual cycles hurt and there’s cramping and pain involved. The difficulty in identifying endometriosis and partitioning that out what might be a normal physiological experience for one patient may be excruciating for another.”
Dr. Merrill said sometimes it can take up to seven years to get a complete diagnosis.
Wright wants women to know they are supported: “I remember, not just the pain, but the emotional pain affecting jobs. It affected school and affected my love life and just every aspect of my life and I know there are women out there going through the exact same thing. You are not alone.”