Have you ever heard of Endometriosis? If you have, then congratulations because you're one of very few people in the world who knows about this condition which affects millions of women around the globe.
There are many women who actually have Endometriosis and have never even heard of it. So what exactly is it?
Endometriosis is a condition that affects women when the lining of the uterus grows outside outside of the womb. According to womenhealth.org, more than 11% of American women between the ages of 15 and 44 are affected and it is "especially common among women in their 30s and 40s and may make it harder to get pregnant."
Those suffer from Endometriosis may or may not exhibit symptoms but when they do, it could include painful menstrual cramps, pain after sex and chronic pain in the lower back and pelvis, spotting between periods, digestive problems and infertility.
Some of the symptoms listed above can occur under normal circumstances as well so many women don't link it with a more severe health problem. According to the Guardian, "one woman in 10 of reproductive age has endometriosis, it is estimated, and yet often their primary care doctors do not know what it is and the specialists to whom they are sent are ill-informed."
One of these women is Culumi Nakada , a 25-year-old Japanese model, actress and DJ, who is decided to share her hidden symptoms so other women can seek help sooner.
Culumi was at an acupuncture session when someone commented on the size of her stomach.
“I was already self-conscious. I even went to the gym, but my stomach wasn’t going down,” she said. “I’m such a fatty. I spoke to those around me as if to make fun of myself. Maybe I had eaten too much during the New Year festivities.” she told Buzzfeed News.
When she finally got around to seeing her gynecologist, she was diagnosed with endometriosis and ovarian cysts.
Her enlarged ovaries were the cause of her swollen stomach. She has since gotten laparoscopic surgery to remove the tumor and is now using her experience to warn other women of this hidden condition. She puts emphasis on the importance of routine medical examinations.
“Girls are often said to buy cosmetics and beauty products in order to look cute, right? However, beauty means nothing without health,” she said. “They’ll go to a beauty salon, but they won’t go for a comprehensive medical checkup. Even though they are the same price.”
Culumi wrote about her struggle on her a blog titled, "Every Girl Should Read This. I Beg You." She told Buzzfeed that she doesn't mind sharing such personal details because "diseases are no good, but it’s also no good to keep things bottled up. If there’s something you want to do, it’s best if you say so. If there’s something you want to get rid of, it’s best if you cut it out.”
I think every woman can take a page out of Culumi's book and pay better attention to their bodies. Here's also hoping that doctors will work harder that being able to diagnose Endometriosis more efficiently.
Did you know about Endometriosis? Share your thoughts in the comments!