“Periods so painful I used to pass out” – International Women’s Day highlights endometriosis

As a teenager, Megan used to have such painful periods she would pass out – she thought this was normal! It was only when she came off the pill to try for baby and the pain returned that she was told it could be endometriosis, a common cause of infertility. This condition that blights the lives of so many women is being highlighted for International Women’s Day 2023 on 8th March.

International Women's Day 2023

Painful heavy periods never discussed at school

“I had never heard of endometriosis until we started trying for a baby and it affects a lot of women. Once the pain was so bad I really burnt my stomach on a hot water bottle trying to make it go away,” Megan remembers.

Kyle and Megan met when they were teenagers, they married in 2013 and three years later Megan came off the pill to start a family.

“I’ve always had trouble with my periods, even from a very young age and started the pill when I was 15. When I stopped contraception to try for a baby, they became very heavy, and very very painful, so I went to the GP and she basically said, ‘either you have a baby, or you go back on contraception’. I said, ‘actually we have been trying’. She asked how long for and agreed to do a referral to Bourn Hall for fertility testing.

“The doctor at Bourn Hall said to me that painful periods are not normal; no-one should suffer like that.

Megan and Kyle with Faith
Megan and Kyle with Faith

Endometriosis is when tissue, similar to that found in the womb, forms scar tissue or a ‘lesion’ around other organs such as the ovaries or bowel. A definitive diagnosis requires a laparoscopy – an operation in which a camera (a laparoscope) is inserted into the pelvis, so that the surgeon can look for lesions. This tissue may be treated by burning off or removed for further examination. If the tissue is extensive, then removal may damage the tubes and you should be made aware of this and your options. Find out more about endometriosis.

Investigated for endometriosis 

“When I described my periods to the fertility specialists at Bourn Hall, they wondered if I might have endometriosis. Kyle’s tests all back fine but mine showed that I wasn’t ovulating.

“Bourn Hall recommended that I go for a bit more investigation with a specialist at the hospital before we even discussed treatment.

“The consultant explained that I did have lesions (scar tissue) all around my bowel that they burnt away to try and ease the pain. I also had a dye test that showed my tubes were a bit blocked and sluggish. So, it was agreed that I should go straight to IVF.

The International Women’s Day website includes this video which explains more about Endometriosis, its symptoms and possible treatments.

Coping with the heartbreak and hope

“We started treatment in November 2020 and got 14 eggs collected and eight fertilised. My sister has also had IVF and only got two, so I knew how lucky I was, but sadly our first embryo transfer failed, which was heart-breaking.

“Treatment is very emotional and mentally draining.

“So we had a little break before the frozen embryo transfer and I started trying acupuncture. It is a bizarre feeling when you’re having it done, I could feel the warmth and would recommend it to help you relax.I just wanted to try to give anything a go.

“The embryo needed to thaw before treatment, and I got a call in the morning of the transfer to say that the embryo hadn’t made it. T

“There was just a whole wave of grief that I never expected I would have. Luckily, I had more, so they took another one out of storage. The embryologist said ‘have a bath, get ready, and he would call me’. So, I had a cry, got myself together.

“He called me soon after to say the next one had thawed, so come in – and we did.

Keeping Faith

“The embryologist came and spoke to me and explained that although this embryo was a lower grade it had produced more cells in the incubator. He said – and this always sticks with me – ‘I have great faith in it’.

“As I went back in the car after the transfer, I was talking to my tummy saying, ‘come on, Faith, stick around’. When we found we were pregnant my husband’s words were ‘Faith has stuck’. Corny, I know – so that’s why her name is Faith; she has always been Faith.

“We found out I was pregnant on Easter Sunday and gave birth just before Christmas.

“I’ve worked since I was 16 and my husband has got a new job. He said, ‘you’ve longed for it for so long so why not enjoy it?’ and I haven’t gone back to work.

“It’s lovely. Still feels surreal. I just think ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe she’s mine’.


Related articles