So, I apparently have endometriosis. I found this out on Monday after undergoing a laparoscopy to investigate the cause of a blocked tube, the cause of my infertility. However, it seems a blocked tube was the least of my worries. More on that later.
Starting from the beginning, my problems began soon after I started my periods, aged around 12. The pain was unbearable. I would be bed-ridden in agony for 1-2 days at a time, sweating through the mattress, blacking out, in too much pain to cry. My doctor prescribed painkillers, and told me I would grow out of it. Oh, and that getting pregnant would probably help, but that he wouldn't recommend that at my age. Thanks. This went on approximately monthly - anything from 3 to 8 week intervals - until my doctor decided to put me on the pill aged around 15. My symptoms did calm down considerably, although periods were still very heavy and by most peoples standards, still quite painful. Of course, to me, this was bliss.
I carried on through life on the pill, then switching between various hormonal methods to find the most pain-free option (the implant won, by the way) until deciding we wanted to try to start a family. Nothing happened. I went to see the doctor, explained all about my medical history. They wanted to check my partners sperm count. They did an ultrasound - nice and normal, no problems, go home. They tested my blood - some slight strangeness, a few repeat tests, nothing wrong, go home. They sent me for an HSG (hysterosalpingogram), which showed up a blocked right tube. The cause of all my problems? I read up on it while on the 2 month wait to see the consultant again, and found the most plausible cause was a hydrosalpinx, where the tube has been damaged, is expanded and fluid filled, and blocked at the end. It fitted precisely with what I saw on screen. Did the doctor agree this was a possibility worth investigating? No. Apparently that was impossible. They wouldn't investigate it.
My consultant finally decided that my fertility was 'unexplained', despite the very clear blocked tube (and the well known statistic that one blocked tube is usually accompanied by a problem in the other tube) and referred me for IVF. It was 9 days after my 35th birthday. Apparently the guidelines had changed and IVF was only available to those up to and including 34 years old. Despite appeals based on the 6 month gap between appointments, they refused to budge, and we paid privately for a round of IVF.
The very fact that I announced at the start of this post that I found out I have endometriosis on Monday would probably lead you to the conclusion that it didn't work. You would be right. But that's a different story for another day.