'Despite the obvious pain I was in, the medics still seem unconvinced': How a woman struggled through the UK medical system before being diagnosed with endometriosis
- Endometriosis is a common, long-term condition among women of childbearing age that can have a significant impact on life
- Lauren had been experiencing painful symptoms for years without an official diagnosis
- Three years after her problems first arose, the young woman's health worsened
- Medical professionals were only convinced of the severity of her condition after Lauren required emergency surgery on her abdomen
All women know how uncomfortable period cramps can be. However, when their severity increases, and is accompanied by colon pain, tenderness and bloating, something is clearly wrong.
Lauren was unfortunate enough to have to suffer through these symptoms, as they steadily increased in severity until she was landed in a hospital bed with a high fever, a bloated stomach and a ruptured ovary.
Lauren was landed in a hospital bed with a high fever, a bloated stomach and a ruptured ovary
‘I’d been experiencing endometriosis pains for three years, but was not officially diagnosed with endometriosis,’ Lauren says, speaking to Endometriosis UK’s website. About three years ago, I noticed my periods were getting increasingly more painful. Painkillers sometimes dulled the pain, but usually they didn’t do much.'
These pains Lauren was experiencing became so severe that she ended up missing up to two days of work per month because of them. When Lauren visited her GP for answers, she was initially disappointed.
‘I had felt a lump in my pelvis below my hip bone,’ she recalls. ‘My GP wasn’t convinced and said she couldn’t feel anything on a pelvic exam.
'I finally convinced her to let me get an ultrasound which showed a cyst by my left ovary. My GP scheduled me for a scan in four weeks.’
"I noticed my periods were getting increasingly more painful."
This was not the end of Lauren’s ordeal, however.
Awaking one morning some time before her scan was due to take place, the young woman was in severe pain, so much so that her husband was left with little choice but to call the emergency services.
‘Despite the obvious pain I was in, the medics still seemed unconvinced,’ Lauren remembers. ‘I was eventually taken to hospital where I developed a very high fever and a very bloated stomach.’
After waiting for three days, Lauren was given a scan which revealed an alarming amount of fluid on her abdomen. She was rushed to surgery.
Surviving her operation, Lauren awoke to be told that she did indeed have endometriosis; that an endometrioma had ruptured her left ovary; and the fluid this had attracted had become infected.
Medics 'seemed unconvinced' when Lauren's husband called an ambulance due to the severe pain she was in
"It was scary because I didn’t feel I was getting much support from the medical community."
A Slow Process
Recovering during a slow process following her surgery, Lauren reflects on her experiences. ‘I was a bit relieved to finally be diagnosed,’ she says.
‘But it was scary because I didn’t feel I was getting much support from the medical community. I also felt frustrated that I wasn’t officially diagnosed sooner.
‘It’s really important not to be put off by doctors who don’t think your endometriosis is something to be aggressive about,’ she finishes. 'Every step of this painful journey, I’ve had to convinced everyone how much pain I was in.’
Endometriosis UK helps women like Lauren to get the information and support they need to deal with their condition.