In light of HBO’s “Girls” actress/producer Lena Dunham’s announcement that she will not be doing press for the upcoming season of this show due to a “rough patch” caused by her endometriosis, I’ve been hearing and reading some deeply disturbing comments. Comments suggesting she, and other women need not share what should be private medical information. That talking about it “isn’t brave” and “no one needs to know this”. And shockingly, even comments that she, and other women with endo are just “looking for attention” or are “lazy”.
Fortunately, these comments were not directed at me, nor have I ever had anyone echo these types of sentiments to me personally. But I can tell you in no uncertain terms that my uterus is the LAST thing I would want to receive attention for. Yes, I consider my medical details highly personal and very private, and I never would have thought I’d be sharing them in a public forum.
So you may be asking, then, why do I talk about my uterus? Why don’t I just keep my female medical issues to myself? I’ll tell you why:
1. Because I had symptoms of endometriosis for seventeen years before I was diagnosed.
2. Because if my symptoms had been recognized earlier, treatment could possibly have prevented what I deal with now: moderate to severe pelvic pain. Every. Single. Day.
3. Because if my story can help someone recognize her own symptoms or those of a loved one, maybe they can avoid going through what I have/am.
4. Because if I were talking about cancer or diabetes, I wouldn’t need to write this list.
5. Because there is very little accurate information about endometriosis out there, and there is an incredible amount of incorrect information floating around (perpetuated by misinformed articles such as CNN’s recent one on Dunham that sparked the comments above).
6. Because many people I talk to don’t even know what endometriosis is.
7. Because women have been told things like “some women just have it worse” or “it’s in your head” by doctors that should know better.
8. Because endo is the #1 cause of female infertility.
9. Because for decades, women have been made to feel ashamed for talking about their “women troubles”.
10. Because there is NO cure for endometriosis. Having a hysterectomy does not cure it.
11. Because yes, I have a small business rooted in my struggle with endometriosis – sure, it’s nice to make sales, but I have a good full-time job; raising awareness about endometriosis and advocating for sufferers is far more important to me than the financial side of it.
12. Because some symptoms of endo are very similar to that of gynecological cancers, and if girls and women are too ashamed to talk about it, it could be deadly.
13. Because some men (and maybe some women?) think that the uterus is the same thing as the vagina. I wish I was kidding.
14. Because some doctors accuse women of “exaggerating” their pain to get painkillers, when in reality, it is often the case that women actually downplay their pain and other symptoms.
15. Because we need to collectively demand better care from the medical community for endometriosis and other gynecological conditions.
16. Because it’s a Saturday afternoon, and I’m writing this as I lie on my heating pad in pain and thoroughly exhausted from being in pain. This shouldn’t be my life at 30.
17. Because 1 in 10 women and girls suffer from endo and they need to know they’re not alone.
In our over-sharing culture, I can understand why some people may initially balk at the idea of Lena, or myself, sharing such personal information. After reading this, I hope it is more clear why talking about endometriosis and women’s health conditions is so important! Thank you for taking the time to read, and feel free to share this story! Why do YOU talk about your uterus or about endometriosis? Share your reasons in the comments!
by Courtney Fitzpatrick Splendometria Jewelry Co. Creator 2016 All rights reserved.