Living with endo
Annemarie Quill chats with four women who suffer from inflammatory disease endometriosis
ATauranga woman is calling for more understanding of endometriosis, saying she is often labelled a “drugseeker” when seeking medical help for her painful condition.
In a heartbreaking Instagram video, Annalise Harte weeps in pain as she talks about the frustrations of her condition which causes extremely painful — often excruciating — periods. She says despite the large number of women suffering from endo, as it is commonly known, it is still a misunderstood disease.
“I 100 per cent believe there is still a problem with the recognition of endometriosis. People see it as being female related and in particular, a menstruation problem. From a very young age we are taught to keep our menstrual cycle quiet and on the hush. The reception at school hand you tampons and pads over the counter in an envelope. Boys are grossed out by the topic and girls are forced into believing that this is a topic that should not be discussed. Because endometriosis is a disease that affects your menstrual cycle, it is subconsciously paired with this ‘taboo’ and no one feels comfortable speaking out loud about it.”
Harte, who was diagnosed with endometriosis five years, ago runs a blog, All About Annie, to raise awareness about the condition in which she lays bare the reality of suffering.
“The periods that last weeks, months on end. The inability to have a normal bowel movement. Not being able to find a pad that will accommodate your flow. The embarrassment women feel when having to discuss with their employers why they need another day off. I created the blog to shed light on the things that people think are meant to be kept behind closed doors, because they are not. This is what so many women worldwide have to deal with and I want them to feel normal! One of the worst parts of this disease is feeling like an outcast. When I first got my diagnosis I had never heard of endometriosis before, I didn’t feel as though I could talk about what was actually wrong with me or that anyone else understood. I don’t want anyone else to have to feel like that, I hate knowing people feel alone, misunderstood and defeated.”
Harte has undergone a number of treatments including the contraceptive pill, two laparoscopic surgeries, a Mirena inserted, acupuncture, women’s health physio, pelvic floor treatment and courses of medication. She says the thought that she may not be able to have children is one of the most challenging things to deal with daily, along with the pain.
She says there is not enough understanding of the disease in the medical profession.
“At times you are made to feel as though you are making up your symptoms and are simply there to feed a drug habit.”
Harte tries to manage her endo with healthy eating, cutting out dairy, gluten and sugar and taking regular exercise.
Annalise Harte suffers from severe endometriosis so she is unable to work fulltime.