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Endometriosis Pain Isn’t Just Painful Period ‘Cramps’

Endometriosis Pain Isn’t Just Painful Period ‘Cramps’


For several days every month, I experience extreme pain in my stomach and back. (In addition to multiple other unpleasant symptoms.) Every time I tried to explain how I was feeling  (this was before I knew it was Endometriosis), they would say things like: “Your period cramps are that bad?” Even family members would ask if I had “cramps,” when they knew it affected me to the point of being bedridden.

I find it offensive when others refer to my chronic pain as cramps.

My pain is not similar to that of a muscle cramp or having a normal period with dull pain. It feels like my stomach is being ripped open, slowly and agonizingly, from the inside out. And let’s not forget about the intense heat and soreness that accompanies my #EndoMonster. It makes me feel worse than words can even describe.

When people refer to my agonizing experience as  “just cramps,” it feels like I’m being told that this intense pain (that makes me long for death every month) is totally normal.

Prior to my diagnosis, I remember every month I would think to myself: “If this pain is normal, why is life even worth living?” How much can someone really enjoy their life, knowing that later in the month they’ll spend days in bed, screaming because the pain is just so unbearable?

Sure, my Endometriosis diagnosis brought recognition but not understanding.

With a name comes recognition, but not understanding. Receiving a name for what I was experiencing helped on some level, but that’s only part of the battle. I still experience terrible pain, and people still fail to realize that cramping is the least of my worries.

My pain is more than feeling sore. It’s intense pain that’s worse than anything I’ve ever felt before. I’m constantly surrounded by people who don’t and won’t ever fully understand my pain because they’ve never felt it.

As many invisible illnesses go, people tend to think I’m exaggerating.

I’ve missed work due to my Endometriosis pain and deteriorating mental health. When I come back to work, my co-workers joke about how I “never come to work.” Recently, a supervisor at my current job jokingly asked me: “Why do you even bother to come?” I told her I had to leave work early because the pain made it impossible for me to stand.

Aside from feeling completely disrespected, this comment deeply upset me. I need the money, and if I could come, I would. When people point out that I occasionally don’t show up, that’s just pouring salt into an open wound.

We live in a world where people need to visually see something in order to understand when someone is really having a problem. Having to explain my situation to people who are generally and utterly unsympathetic makes my situation even more intolerable. Endometriosis pain is more than just cramps, and I hope that more people start to understand that.

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