"I'm going to layeth the smacketh down on Eve"

It all started in high school it hit me like a knife right to my stomach. I felt faint, fatigued and the only position that was somewhat comfortable was fetal. I had heard stories of young girls getting their first period, but I never thought mine would be so painful. I thought something was wrong with me, but I just didn’t know what. Is this what cramps feel like? If so I’d rather be a boy if this is going to be my life now.  This is the kind of pain that makes you want to dig Eve up from the grave and tear her behind up! Was the fruit that tempting Eve? I mean really!

I had tried multiple over the counter pain medications, you name it I tried it. Nothing worked. It began to be routine for me to miss a day of school once a month.  I had figured out that heating pads were a gift from Heaven and soups and teas were my new best friends. Over time I would lose my appetite, become nauseous and the pain would increase and eventually I couldn’t get out of bed. This went on until I went to college. I started to miss classes and fall behind. I finally went to the nurse on campus in tears of frustration and agony. They said that I had irregular cycles and prescribed me birth control. Problem solved right? Wrong!

Fast forward to 2008-2009 when I was pregnant with my daughter. What a relief! Those 9-10 months were sweeeet! No heating pads, no Vicodin, no missing special events, cookouts or work. Got to make that money honey! Everyone said my cycles would get better after having my baby. Problem solved right? Wrong again! They were worse! It felt as though someone was stabbing me in my vagina repeatedly and I just let them. I had migraines that would last for 6-8 hours every day for sometimes 10 days straight! I’d lie on the floor in a fetal position and couldn’t move until the pain let up. It was HORRIBLE!

Fast forward to last year and I can finally put a name to this agonizing pain. I got a full workup done in which I was tested for a million things and an ultrasound done.  I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or PCOS for short.  PCOS is a hormonal disorder that causes your ovaries to become enlarged with small cysts along the outer edges. I was slightly relieved because I had gone to Google so many times to self diagnosis myself and had thought I had endometriosis. Endometriosis is a disorder also in which tissue that typically grows along the uterus grows outside of the uterus. The tissue can be found on the intestines as well as the Fallopian tubes causing some women to be infertile.  

So now that I had a name for this pain I felt every month, I started talking to my doctor about a plan to help regulate my cycles as to get my life back so I don’t have to submit to such excruciating pain every month. I admit although I am freakishly scared of Pap smears, I would recommend getting one once a year. Just because you don’t feel any pain doesn’t mean nothing is wrong. Pap smears can detect cervical cancer early on. 176 million women worldwide are affected by endometriosis and some don’t even know it. Who knows how many women are affected by PCOS because the criteria used to define it is still changing. These disorders can affect young girl as early as age 11 before they even have their first menstrual.

I never knew how important it was to have the talk about your menstrual until I realized that I am not the only one suffering. Have the conversation with your daughters about hygiene as well and how important it is with what they put into their bodies. These disorders may not have cures, but they do have various treatment options. Do your research and talk to your doctor. What works for me may not work for you. Let us not die young due to a lack of knowledge. Health is wealth.

By: EIC Le'Keshia Smith