An American celebrity is calling for more awareness about the health risks endometriosis poses to women and especially those in the African American community.
When it comes to period cramps and women complaining of particularly painful ones, the consensus is usually to suck it up and keep going, because it is normal to have painful cramps when on your period.
In an essay published in OprahMag.com and WomensHealthMag.com, Tia Mowry-Hadrict, reveals that it took years for her to learn that the pelvic pain she had always dealt with was actually endometriosis, even going to multiple doctors.
“I’d been experiencing extreme pelvic pain for years and went to several doctors. Each one would brush me off. ‘Those are just really bad cramps, some women get them more severely,’ one told me. ‘Just put heat on it,’ one suggested. Another doctor simply said: ‘Get on the treadmill — working out helps,’ ”she said.
This is the story many women who experience the painful health phenomenon usually tell, until they are diagnosed accurately by a doctor who is well verse in the signs of endometriosis.
Endometriosis is a painful disorder in which the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus instead grows on the outside. The displaced endometrial (uterus) tissue continues to act as it normally would, however because it has no way to exit the body, it becomes trapped and can cause severe pain especially during the period, which can also lead to fertility challenges.
The primary symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain and is generally associated with the menstrual period.
Twenty-seven year old Yomi Perkins, an attorney in Barbados recalls her own battles with endometriosis stating that before her diagnosis, she would need to be on drips for the pain every month.
“I didn’t think anything of it as everyone always told me it’s normal to have cramps with your period. Years went by with these monthly cramps. I realized something was wrong when I was 21 my periods started coming every 2 weeks so I decided to see [my doctor], he did an ultrasound and told me my right ovary had a large cyst and he would have to run some test to ensure it’s not ovarian cancer.” She said in an interview with this magazine.
When the results came back, she was diagnosed with endometriosis and scheduled to have surgery to remove the ovary.
As most women with endometriosis can attest to, becoming pregnant is rare, and delivering a successful pregnancy can be extremely tough.
Recounting her experience with her now 4 month old twin babies, Perkins explained that every day she was still carrying was nothing short of a miracle.
“The pregnancy was a tough one I had to have an emergency cerclage in place as my cervix was practically nonexistent at 15 weeks and had to be on bed rest having weekly progesterone injections for the remainder of the pregnancy. I also had an elevated heart rate for the entire pregnancy my resting heart rate was 110. I was also on tender hooks as every day I felt like my period would come,” she said.
Tia Mowry- Hadrict, revealed that she revamped her diet and underwent multiple surgeries to not only relieve her pain, but also increase her odds of successfully having her two children.
“Compared to other communities, it feels like there’s a void when it comes to talking about healthy living and medicine from African American women, for African American women,” she said.