Understanding endometriosis

Understanding endometriosis

What is endometriosis? What is it about? And how can I get help?

Hello there. How have you been? It’s been a while since I last posted a blog. The last post was less of a blog and more of a vlog (video blog), which I published on 16th July, in which I was interviewed by Elaine Godley from Perfect Health. If you get a chance to check it please do. I’m quite proud of it and some of the feedback which I have had has been insightful and constructive.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/perfecthealthwithelainegodley/

Prior to this I did a blog about mental health and video games on the 20th of June and prior to that I did a video blog on 24th April. This was about coronavirus and how people are coping. For those who have been following the blogs, you will know that for much of last year and the start of this year, the blogs moved from weekly to monthly to….well when I have the chance to.

The reason for this is that this year has been incredibly busy, from starting a new job, moving, and starting a pretty tough course (wrote the exam on Tuesday of this week so wish me luck). I am day away from going away for a few days with my little family (my partner and her son) for some annual leave, so I have the opportunity to pause, reflect and write a blog, something I haven’t done for a while and something which feels really nice to do after so long.

I really hope that when studies calm down and the international coronavirus situation calms down that I may be able to write more, but until then, I will write when I can, and thank you again for taking the time to read my blogs. Means a lot 😊

So here we are at a new blog.

Endometriosis. What it is? And why am I talking about it?

I would like to talk about the person first as I would like to make a point that this is about the person before the illness. The person is Ali, my brother’s wife, who bravely asked for help, and where I helped her to set up a Crowdfund and where she has managed to secure surgery at the end of July for suspected endometriosis. We set up the Crowdfund to raise money for surgery as she has been dealing with this painful and debilitating condition for years, but she has luckily been able to get surgery on the NHS despite waiting for what may have felt like an eternity.

With her permission, I am sharing her blog, so for those of you out there who have been effected by this illness, you are not alone, and there is a voice out there for you. Whilst the blog chronicles a personal journey, it also serves as emotive literature and practical advice to coping with pelvic pain.

https://alisonlourens.wixsite.com/whatswrongwithme

So what is endometriosis?

Being medically minded, I’m going to be a bit frank and direct with some of my explanations. I understand that this may be a sensitive subject for many, so in advance I am saying that I do empathise with what you are going through and I in no way mean to diminish or simplify what it is that you are going through.

Endometriosis (pronounced en- doh – mee – tree – oh – sis) is the name given to the condition where cells like the ones in the lining of the womb (uterus) are found elsewhere in the body.

Each month these cells react in the same way to those in the womb, building up and then breaking down and bleeding. Unlike the cells in the womb that leave the body as a period, this blood has no way to escape. 

It is a chronic and debilitating condition that causes painful or heavy periods. It may also lead to infertility, fatigue and bowel and bladder problems. Around 1.5 million women in the UK are currently living with the condition. Endometriosis can affect all women and girls of a childbearing age, regardless of race or ethnicity. 

Every month a woman’s body goes through hormonal changes. Hormones are naturally released which cause the lining of the womb to increase in preparation for a fertilized egg.  If pregnancy does not occur, this lining will break down and bleed – this is then released from the body as a period. 

In endometriosis, cells like the ones in the lining of the womb grow elsewhere in the body. These cells react to the menstrual cycle each month and also bleed. However, there is no way for this blood to leave the body. This can cause inflammation, pain and the formation of scar tissue.

The impacts.

Endometriosis can have a significant impact on a woman’s life in a number of ways, including:

  • Chronic pain
  • Fatigue/lack of energy
  • Depression/isolation
  • Problems with a couple’s sex life/relationships
  • An inability to conceive
  • Difficulty in fulfilling work and social commitments

Treatment

There is treatment which is available to make some of the symptoms more manageable, which include surgery, hormone treatment and pain relief.

As you know, on my blog I look at the fitness and wellness of the person from a holistic view point, with the understanding how the body effects the mind, and visa versa. Living with chronic pain of this nature is most certainly going to effect the emotional and mental wellbeing of the person.

More information

Here is are some videos for extra information and reference:

So what help is available out there for me?

If you or someone you know is effected by endometriosis, you must be wondering what help and or support is out there for you.

Healthline has a good article on pain relief, managing stress and maintaining relationships. See below for a link to the article:

https://www.healthline.com/health/womens-health/endometriosis-pain-relief

At the heart of it, apart from pain treatment and surgery, there is the mental aspect of it which is so important not to ignore.

Be honest with yourself. Be honest with others. It may be difficult and it may be painful, but having that open and honest talk about how you are feeling and the help you feel you may be needing will help you to get that help from your family, partners, friends and associated health professionals. I realise that it can all become quite painful and overwhelming at times and we may become emotionally exhausted and unable to continue, but asking for that help will help.

So who do I ask for help?

Well I guess the first part is to set up a physical health consultation and get physical health advice including recommendations for pain relief and surgery options.

The second part is how to get help for the mental side and how the illness effects the mental health of the person.

Endometriosis UK appears to have some information about support groups which may be helpful:

https://www.endometriosis-uk.org/find-a-support-group

There is also Samaritans, on free phone 116 123.

I hope you have found this blog to be of use. I know that this may be difficult for some, but I hope that this blog has helped shed some light on the subject, and if you or someone is effected by the illness, I hope that you get the help that you need.

If you are still concerned though for the wellbeing of another please talk to your GP. There is help out there, and it is ok to ask for it.

Alternatively there is Samaritans. Freephone 116123.
You are not alone.

It is ok to talk.

Also, on a more health related note, as you know, we are still dealing with coronavirus. If you are showing with symptoms of the coronavirus though, please seek medical advice and support from your local health authorities. The general recommendation if you are symptomatic is to place yourself in quarantine until such time as the virus has passed. But please, still follow the guidelines of your local health authority and seek reliable and valid information sources for your forms of information, such as the World Health Organization or your local health care authority.

Remember to wash your hands.

Babylon. YouTube.

Remember: it’s a journey. It will take time. Have patience in the process. You will get there. Until then, stay happy, stay healthy, and have a lovely time wherever you are on the planet.

And remember: love yourself. And others.

References:

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A bit about the author:

I am a guy who is (nearly) 40, who is sharing a journey of weight management and wellbeing.I am also a mental health professional with a wealth of years of experience in supporting individuals who have challenging mental illnesses and personality disorders. 

Prior to my current professional role, I spent several years supporting members of the community as a fitness professional, assisting individuals with weight loss and health improvement programmes.

I completed a PGDip in Mental Health Nursing in 2013, and an MSc in Advanced Practice in 2016 in which I looked at improving nurses’ level of engagement with patients with challenging personality disorders. 

In 2018 I successfully undertook a Clinical reasoning in Physical Assessments course, and in 2020 I commenced further training in Nurse Prescribing to train toward becoming an Advanced Nurse Practitioner.

In 2015 I also undertook a Mentorship for practice (BSc Hons) course and have been supporting future nurses with their training and development. I have also recently supported a Healthcare Assistant Staff toward training in and successfully passing and achieving a Foundation Degree in Mental Health Nursing.

In my current role I am a person looking to support the physical and mental health and wellbeing of the individual. As part of my role within the health services in supporting individuals with mental health care needs, I am also currently looking to develop myself as a Wellness Coach, to support the individual with weekly wellness blogs, with the view to support individuals on a 1:1 basis as well as holding motivational lectures and seminars.

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