YOUR teenage years should be filled with discovering who you are and spending time with your friends.
But for Premier League TV presenter Anita Nneka Jones, she spent her time in the doctor’s waiting room.
Her painful periods started when she was only 14, but Anika was told to take painkillers and was prescribed birth control pills.
In her 20s, the pain finally got to be too much for Anika, who demanded that her GP refer her to a gynaecologist.
She has been diagnosed with endometriosis and is now urging other women to fight for themselves and not dismiss the symptoms of intense pain.
Anita, now 32, who lives in London, said that as a teenager you go through a lot of hormonal changes and can feel embarrassed about your body and how you’re developing.
She said that made it difficult for her to explain what her symptoms actually felt like.
“You know those metal wire hangers? Imagine one of them scratching your insides. Or stab your vagina area.
“It’s so intense that the only thing you can do to relieve the pain is strap a hot water bottle to yourself, lie in bed in the fetal position, and have strong painkillers,” she said Tyla.
Endometriosis is hard to get treat and difficult to diagnose.
The condition refers to when tissue resembling the lining of the uterus grows outside the abdomen.
Common symptoms include painful intercourse, heavy periods, infertility and excessive menstrual cramps, and it is believed that one in ten women worldwide suffer from the condition.
In her late 20s, Anita said the pain was getting worse and she had pelvic pain even when she wasn’t on her period.
She noticed a post on Instagram about endometriosis and felt compelled to get a referral.
From there she underwent a laparoscopy and the doctors said she had endometriosis on her abdominal wall, pelvic sidewall and colon.
Since then she has had surgery and also had the Mirena coil fitted.
The pain initially subsided and Anita had no more symptoms for six months.
The signs of endometriosis you need to know
Endometriosis is different for everyone – but the most common symptom is painful menstrual bleeding.
If you are struggling to manage the pain, you need to see your GP.
Here are the other endometriosis symptoms to watch out for:
- Pain during ovulation
- pain in the pelvis
- Abdominal pain without sex
- Severe pain when you have a bowel movement
- Bleeding from the gut OR IBS symptoms like diarrhea and bloating that are worse during your period
- pain when urinating
- back pain
- leg pain
- tiredness and tiredness
But just six months after that first operation, the pain returned and Anita was told she would have to undergo a second operation.
She was told to consider a reserve ovarian test because of the risks to her fertility.
She was shocked to find out her fertility was low and she might have to freeze her eggs.
She was just 30 at the time and said it was strange making such a life-changing decision at that age.
Anita said it was a difficult experience as the procedures caused her endometriosis to flare up even more.
She has completed two cycles of egg freezing so far and needs to do one more before having her second laparoscopy surgery.
It’s been an emotional roller coaster for Anita, who says she wants women to realize their painful periods aren’t normal and says it’s her “cross to bear” to talk about her condition.
“Don’t let a doctor tell you this is normal. Go to a specialist, a gynecologist, and if you have endometriosis, do an ovarian reserve test after your first surgery.
“We’re not taught these things. And even if you don’t have it, so many women have trouble conceiving. We don’t know why; I don’t know why,” she added.
https://www.thesun.ie/health/8479768/period-pains-metal-hanger-scraping-insides-tv-presenter/ My “period pains” feel like a metal bar scraping my gut, says the TV host