It’s a condition that impacts nearly 10 per cent of Canadian women, but it was over a decade before Calgary mom Casey Clow-Domenjoz realized endometriosis was causing her debilitating pain.
“Growing up, I was always missing school,” Clow-Domenjoz said. “I wasn’t able to hang out with my friends because my stomach cramps were so bad.”
Finally, after years of pain and a lengthy hospitalization, Clow-Domenjoz was diagnosed with stage 1 endometriosis.
“Endometriosis is when there is lining that is typically found on the inside of the uterus, but instead it’s found in other areas of the pelvis,” said Dr. Rupinder Mangat, medical director of the Northeast Calgary Women’s Clinic.
The disease can cause inflammation, pain and scarring around many of the organs in a woman’s pelvis. Left untreated, it can also lead to infertility. The problem is, according to Mangat, many women ignore their symptoms for years, dismissing their pain as normal.
“This is something where the pain can really affect their function, so that you have to either take stronger medications or you’re actually missing time off work or school because of symptoms.”
The disease can only be diagnosed with surgery but there are several treatment options available, ranging from progestin forms of birth control to a hysterectomy (in severe cases).
After exhausting all other medical options, Clow-Domenjoz is now considering a hysterectomy to manage her pain.
“Most days, I am bedridden with a heating pad. My life went from being an active mom playing road hockey with my kids to sitting on the couch, looking out the window, wanting to go out there and play with my kids.”
She’s now urging other woman to pay attention to pain experienced around periods and to talk to a doctor if that pain is severe.
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