Wednesday, 27 March 2013

"I have been suffering menstrual pains since age 13' - Nike Oshinowo opens up about her battle with Endometriosis

Endometriosis is painful disorder in which the tissue that lines the uterus grows outside of the uterus and on other organs. Endometriosis can cause pain, internal scar tissue and fertility problems and former beauty queen Nike Oshinowo has been battling with it for over 33 years. Nike explains:

"I have lived with Endometriosis since the age of 13. I went to boarding school in England  when I was 7. I went to prep school. It was during the first few days in secondary school that I began my periods. They called the ambulance and I was hospitalized for 10 days because the pain wouldn't stop. The pain was so intense I passed out. I thought I was going to die.

Living with Endometriosis is a challenge. When you see your doctor, your doctor tries to treat the symptoms and assumes the pain revolves around your menstrual circle. But this is not so. The pain affects every single aspect of your life. I have never had an examination without my period. There are so many things I have never done without my period. When I am happy, my period comes. When I'm depressed, my period is there. I learned to just cope with it.

She explains more about the disease. See it after the cut...

Until I turned 40, Nigerians didn't know I suffered from Endometriosis. I granted an interview then and people understood why I never drank alcohol and why I was into healthy living. At last, it was understood why if I come to your party, by 8pm I had to go home to take my pain killers because when you live with Endometriosis, you live with pain. I have a library in my home about pain.

I talk about this pain now so that mothers, when their young daughters are starting their period for the first time and it is traumatic, they should go to the hospital and have it checked out.

Mine was left so late in life in spite of the fact that I grew up in England. I have had so many surgeries I have lost count. I remember when Michael Jackson died and they talked about a drug he had been taking. I exclaimed oh yes I have taken that drug. You try everything to make the pain go away, so all I know is that I don't want a child of mine to suffer Endometriosis. The only way to make sure of that is to educate as many as I can.

One ignorant doctor told me once to try to have a baby, because once you have a baby the pain would go away. I thought to myself if I had a gun, I would have shot that doctor and I would have been locked and there would have been no one to give me pain killers. The reason for that relief is that when you are pregnant, you don't have periods and a long gap of not menstruating actually abates the symptoms of Endometriosis.

Women with Endometriosis do not want to have sex because it is painful. So you do not want to have intercourse once and it is painful, you will not want to go there. It is not something you are going to look forward to. You are either bleeding or you do not want. So, on the average, my friend's period is 5 days, mine, if I'm lucky lasts 7-10 days and if I'm super duper lucky, lasts less than 7 days. If you look at a girl's circle, 26-27 days, remove the days she's been menstruating and remove the days she doesn't want, when she had premenstrual tension. When every part of you is sore, on those days you are not going to want and even on the remaining 5 or so days that you are OK, you are not going to want to have intercourse it is going to be painful. You just don't want to, so you cannot have a proper relationship with men.

Endometriosis is a disease. You are not supposed to have endometrial tissue in your abdomen. Surgery removes it. But the moment you menstruate, the pain comes back. My understanding is that I have a uterus, every woman does. Something lines it. Just like when you want to bake, you line your pan with baking paper. That baking paper or lining is the endometrial tissues. But mine isn't just confined to my uterus. It's in my fallopian tube, it's every where. Everywhere this tissue is, when you menstruate, that tissue will be doing the same thing. and you feel pain everywhere. Anywhere that tissue is, it behaves as if it is the uterus. The purpose of menstruating is to shed the lining and come out. I know someone who has endometrial tissue in her gut. Even in the brain. When you menstruate, it also menstruates and you feel pain there.

I am almost 47 and I am looking forward to menopause. People like us look forward to it because it give us a breather. I have finally learned how to cope with the pain, how to live with it and how to manage it. It takes up a huge amount of my time and life...

Culled from Sis.Linda Ikeji's Blog

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