Ed note: The woman who shared this story asked that it be shared anonymously.
I was sick from about age 10. Doctors said it was growing pains, then as I got older said it was my "life change" and I was simply unable to cope with the pain but I'd get "used to it".
The pain continued, giving me horrible GI issues and anxiety. I'd bleed so heavily I was weak, would need to go to toilets in school, sometimes spending an hour in the loos vomiting and shaking.
GPs said it was just growing up.
In A levels I missed out on a lot of school, went to A&E frequently with pain that made me feel like I was dying--I was given buscopan and dismissed after waiting 5 hours.
GPs now moved to blaming depression and I was sent for evaluations, CBT and therapy. But the pain continued.
I asked to go to a gyn consultant who quizzed me on my sex life suggesting I had an STD even though I'd been in a monogamous relationship for 4 years. He blamed thrush without examination. I suggested endometriosis, but he said if that was the case he'd have to remove my uterus. I ran out of the room terrified--I was 17.
I lost about 6 jobs due to my issues. All doctors would do was give me the pill to avoid my period. I was deep in depression, no one believed I was in pain. I wanted to die, I was a burden to everyone fighting to help me.
At the age of 21, I demanded a laparoscopy to diagnose me. They found stage 3 endometriosis and told me that I was cured.
2 years later the pain got so much worse and it was constant. I was in and out of A&E every few days unable to cope. Doctors looked at me like I was seeking drugs. I was offered tramadol for 2 years and once begged A&E doctors to fix me. I couldn't live on like this, pain killers did nothing.
I became a dependant, unable to move, isolated from friends, some family saying it was in my head. Finally I went for another laparoscopy. I had a big ovarian cyst. I remember the female doctor saying, "there was tortion, but it's ok".
I now know that's something that could have killed me. To this day I struggle with people telling me it's in my head, thinking I'm just after drugs or attention. And doctors looking down on you.
The female doctors are no better.