Liv­ing with endo

An­nemarie Quill chats with four women who suf­fer from in­flam­ma­tory dis­ease en­dometrio­sis

Bay of Plenty Times - - Indulge -

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.

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