Many people including young women and girls that find themselves battling with endometriosis do not understand what it is all about, and do not even understand the warning signs that they might be suffering from Endometriosis. It is referred to as the abnormal growth of cells, similar to those that form the walls of the uterus but in a location outside the uterus and mostly found on other organs of the pelvis and the exact cause of it has never been identified.34 year old Kealeboga Mabote who is living with endometriosis said that since she first had her period when she was just 16 years old, she just thought painful menstrual periods were normal. When you look at her she oozes so much strength, but being in the severe stage of endometriosis which is Stage IV Mabote battles with pain on each and every day of her life, and she has learnt to live with it and she still goes about with her day to day activities as if nothing is wrong. It was only in 2006 that she started doing surgeries that led to her being diagnosed with endometriosis because a surgery is the only way that the doctors can be able to see what is indeed happening inside her womb.
Prior to that they just thought that she had a cyst which was discovered in her ovaries, and she had two operations to remove the cysts that were found in her two times. She also had another surgery in 2009 and this led to intestinal obstruction, which is a condition where someone’s intestines coil up due to so many surgeries. After that they realised that the lining of her uterus is growing outside and they knew it was endometriosis. She said since then she has had to endure severe pains everyday which she usually feels more when she is going to urinate especially during her period. “During sexual intercourse I can run away, it is way too painful and the pain is severe,” she said. Since ovulation sometimes comes with a mild pain in each and every woman, Mabote said that for her it is way intense and most men usually run away because they always think she is refusing sex or doesn’t want them anymore. She is to undergo another surgery, and with the many that she has done doctors are still trying to figure out how they can do the next one to avoid complications.
She encouraged that it is important for each and every woman to go and test themselves when they experience those severe pains, because most overlook them when they grow up until it becomes very intense. She said that the only way someone can be able to tell if they are suffering from endometriosis is when they go through a surgery to see that, but many are times that parents refuse to give consent for their children to go through surgery and the consequences of that weigh heavily on them when they become young adults and want to start families. She said the disease is such a painful ordeal that is depressing for each and every woman, especially hers that is referred to as the severe stage. Mabote said that without medication for that, she only lives with painkillers in order to try and numb the pain, but nowadays she thinks painkillers do not work because her body might be used to them, and she often takes warm water and that is when she feels better.
She said that what her gynaecologist sometimes gives her is the contraceptive pills to stop her period so that the cells cannot construct outside the uterus. “The period will then stop for six months, but after that six months I will have it again and it will be extremely painful once again. The doctor does this to give me a free period from contraceptives and not to completely reduce my chances of having a baby,” she said. She reiterated that sex is one painful ordeal and she feels like a virgin every time she tries to do that. Even when she has to pass stools, especially when she is on her period, Mabote said it also carries the same pain. She said that her boyfriend passed away in July this year after having a short illness, and he was one person that understood her condition, and she is left wondering on whether she will be able to find a partner that understands her the way that one did. “He accepted me with the condition that I have, and he helped me manage it,” she said. she said that she does not have a baby and she haven’t tried having one yet, not knowing whether she will pass or she will fail because she knows that majority of women fail in that regard and even In vitro Fertilisation(IVF) can fail so many times.
She said that at first she was in pain everyday thinking she is the only one in the world, but she later realised that she is not alone where they recently launched their organisation locally to help sensitise other women and give them support. They also have social groups where they encourage each other. She said that the problem that she realised most of them share is that they end up losing their husbands and partners especially those who are married because their husbands do not understand how painful it is when they have sex with them and not willing to accept that. She said to be able to be vocal about it; she counselled herself that coming from a family that comprises of most girls, it was important that she starts with her family and teach them, and also to reach out to other young girls and women out there. She said at the moment they receive invites from organisations, groups and any other gathering in order to sensitise both males and females so that they can know how to deal with endometriosis if they find themselves in the situation or find their partners having the same pains because endometriosis affects the most vital part of a relationship which is being intimate and having babies.