Woman shows how endometriosis affects her body
As we have tried to highlight in other articles, there's still a stigma attached to talking about problems affecting women — especially those relating to the reproductive system. This doesn't just concern menstruation either, as women feel they aren't allowed to be open about illnesses such as dysmenorrhea or endometriosis. Thankfully, things are slowly starting to change. One positive aspect about social media is that it gives a voice to people suffering issues that they were previously too ashamed or scared to talk about openly.
This was the case with Thessy Kouzoukas. The 27-year-old Briton uploaded two photos on Instagram that left her 110,000 followers stunned; the images showed Thessy standing naked in front of the mirror, but it's hard to believe that it's the same person. In the description, she explained why she posted the photos:
This is quite shocking to people. This is me. This is endometriosis. I never intended to share these photos hence why I'm naked, but my god I can't believe the amount of DM's I've received from girls who have endo too and feel alone. The left is my stomach 3 weeks after a ruptured cyst (5 weeks ago). The right is me now, on a drug called "synarel" that has stopped all my hormones and sent me into menopause at the age of 27. My upcoming trip to Greece along with this drug is in hopes to get me prepped and in the best condition both physically and mentally for an operation I'm receiving in late August. Endo is no joke. I'll be operated on for 7+ hours and hospitalised for a week. Please, spread the word about endo. And If you know anyone with bad period pain PLEASE tell them to get checked for this. And to my girls with endo.. you're not alone ❤️
What an incredibly brave thing to do.
As Thessy pointed out, endometriosis is no joke. It's known as the "silent disease," as many women don't feel they can talk about it. It's estimated that 10% of women worldwide suffer from this condition, in which the layer of tissue that normally covers the inside of the uterus grows outside it. However, the causes of the illness remain unknown — some believe that it's due to problems in women's immune systems. Endometriosis may also be hereditary, passing from mother to daughter.
The symptoms can vary, ranging from severe menstrual pain (dysmenorrhea) and discomfort during sexual intercourse to bleeding when not on period and infertility (though this is much less common). The excruciating pain from endometriosis can even leave some women incapacitated. The bad news is that there's still no cure for this disease; treatment can only help reduce the symptoms. While some women find that contraception and anti-inflammatories alleviate pain, medical treatment only really works on a case-by-case basis.
Though many women suffer from this illness, few feel like they can discuss it openly as it's still regarded as a taboo subject in many places. It's common for women to suffer in silence and say that they're feeling fine, because there are still many people who do not consider it an illness.
Thanks to courageous women like Thessy, sufferers may no longer feel so alone and misunderstood. Hopefully, increased awareness will change people's views on this illness; women suffering from this problem need to be heard so that they can receive the necessary support. If you think you have endometriosis, don't hesitate to go to the doctor. We wish Thessy and women in a similar situation all the very best in combatting this illness. Don't be afraid to speak — you are not alone.