First of all, I'm sorry to hear you're suffering! And second of all, sorry about the really long post which follows!!!!
In answer to your question, I'm now 49 and have only just recently had a diagnostic laparoscopy on 8th September which confirms that not only do I have endometriosis, it's severe endometriosis: the back of my cervix is stuck to my bowel, one of my ovaries is 'bulky' and stuck to my ovarian fossa, the other ovary is 'partially' stuck to the other ovarian fossa, my pouch of Douglas is 'obliterated', along with uterosacral ligaments and it looks like I have a 'bulky' uterus, indicating adenomyosis.
For years now (since 2004) I've been backwards and forwards to various GPs complaining of abdominal pain - it's always been a stitch-like pain in the lower right-hand side of my abdomen...I've been constantly bloated, full of painful gas and had IBS-like symptoms. I was told that I probably had trapped wind or else I was just constipated and needed to eat more fibre...basically the usual fobbing off. Then in 2014 every month for 2-3 days I started getting TERRIBLE pain going to the toilet whenever I had a period. I've actually come close to passing out because it's been AGONY! I started bleeding from my backside and also passed bloody mucus even when I passed wind! I'm still suffering exactly the same symptoms to this day, so much so that it's become impossible to leave the house when I have a period and you can imagine the effect it's had on my life.....By the way, I've never had children...I didn't try and find out why (with hindsight I should have because endometriosis might have been detected a lot sooner) but now it looks like the endometriosis may have also led to infertility in my case.
I went to see my GP in 2014 who examined me and said she'd refer me to a bowel specialist. A couple of days later I received a leaflet in the post offering me an appointment to see someone since it was suspected I had bowel cancer!!!!
To cut a long story short (!) I ended up seeing a bowel specialist for 2 years, who after various tests, including a VERY painful colonoscopy, concluded that I must have constipation and prescribed Dulcolax!!! Due to this misdiagnosis/non-diagnosis, I ended up being left in excruciating pain every month, still not getting the right treatment I needed.
After numerous subsequent trips to the GP and being fobbed off with the usual rubbish 'Many women have period pains, you need to take a pain-killer...' - I finally found some information about endometriosis on the internet and asked my GP to refer me to a gynaecologist.
I finally saw the gynaecologist at my local hospital - which luckily happens to also have an Endometriosis Centre - last August.
I was initially seen by a woman (clearly NOT the gynaecologist I'd come to see) who asked various questions about why the GP had referred me to see the gynaecologist (actually I'd referred myself). When I described my symptoms in detail, including how long I'd had the symptoms, she said 'Well, it's very unlikely to be endometriosis, because you're too old. I'd go back to the bowel specialist if I were you' and I was more or less shown the door!!!!!!
Only because I INSISTED on seeing the gynaecologist I'd come to see was I FINALLY allowed to have a really painful internal examination by the gynaecologist who also removed a polyp. 'Mmmm....yes, it looks like you might have endometriosis...I'll book you in for a laparascopy'.
4 months later and no appointment was made. I went to see my GP AGAIN(!!!) to ask whether or not I should chase up the appointment or leave it...having read all about laparascopies on the internet I was terrified about having one, but was resigned to the idea that maybe if that's what it took to receive a proper diagnosis and treatment, then so be it....The GP said 'Given your age (I was 48 at the time) I'd leave it if I were you...you're pretty near the menopause anyway, so just ride it out and take some pain killers'.
So.....a whole year later, feeling worse than ever, and after deciding that I just can't put up with this agony any more, in August this year I went back to the hospital to see the same gynaecologist. She looked amused when she saw me and asked why I'd waited so long for the laparascopy given the 'severity' of my endometriosis!! ('Severity'?? Hello??) I told her that I'd never received an appointment and wasn't sure if I really needed one? She then said 'You must have a very high pain threshold!' and practically laughed...(honestly, I'm not imagining it!!!!). She then immediately went on to say 'Given your age, we'd probably recommend a hysterectomy'...just like that...without even having established how severe my condition was, where it was located...let alone how I might react to this statement, having been left alone for a whole year not even realising that my condition might be severe!!!
So....returning to the present - after the laparascopy in September, I received a letter detailing the extent of the endometriosis (full of technical jargon and acronyms which no-one but an expert would be able to understand and without the help of the internet I would never have got my head around) from the hospital. No-one came to see me after the operation to explain what had been found, by the way - the gynaecologist saw me in the recovery room for all of 30 seconds while I was just coming round from the anaesthetic and said she'd found endometriosis on my bowel and I'd need further surgery, but that was it.
So, here I am....just about!!!
My next stage is to have an MRI scan and then I've been told that I'll need to have appointments to see a gynaecologist as well as colorectal surgeon to discuss my next round of surgery.
My best advice to you now is that you REALLY MUST push hard to see a specialist gynaecologist in an Endometriosis Centre. There's a website with a list of all the accredited centres in the country: bsge.org.uk/centre/ Do be prepared to be told that you'll need a diagnostic laparoscopy...but PLEASE don't be too afraid of this...it's a necessary evil and you will recover from it.
PLEASE take warning from my experience and the experience of so many unlucky women who for YEARS have been fobbed off and told that there's nothing wrong with them.
If I've learned anything at all from all that's happened to me and to others, it's that I'm not going to rely on the 'expert' judgements of the medical profession, who often at best lack the necessary knowledge but carry on arrogantly telling you that they know best, and at worst just don't care. From now on I've come to realise that if I don't take control of my health, no-one else will...and although it goes against my nature, I'm now so angry that I'm going to start to 'kick ass' and do whatever it takes to get the medics to finally LISTEN to me!!!!
There's LOADS of information on the internet about endometriosis...keep on searching...you'll find that women can have endometriosis at any age - even beyond the menopause in many cases, unfortunately. Women with endometriosis can also suffer very painful migraines, like you. You really have to do some research, because the medical profession is often sadly so ignorant about the condition....knowledge is power and if you quote research at medics, they can't contradict you!!!!
If necessary print out the NICE guidelines to show to your GP cks.nice.org.uk/endometrios... ... Women are waiting FAR TOO LONG to receive a proper diagnosis for this incredibly debilitating condition...Please don't just leave things because you're afraid of contradicting GPs or afraid of seeking the right help. It's YOU who has to live with constant pain and worry!!! If you read through the posts on this forum, so many women have had so many operations and been through so much, but they're still here!! Please don't give up!!!! We owe it to ourselves to push hard to get the right treatment - the treatment IS out there...but the longer you leave it, the worse the condition can get...
Sending you strength and courage - please don't allow yourself to be fobbed off any longer.
All my warmest wishes to you, Fallenleaves and sorry again for the very lengthy message!!!!