Photos by Michaela Skovranova @mishkusk
| These self-portraits document my journey with endometriosis, a complex inflammatory disease within the reproductive system that can also impact muscles, nerves, joints, lungs, and even the brain. It affects roughly one in nine born with a uterus—an estimated 200 million people worldwide.
In advanced stages, endometriosis invades the surrounding organs. Thick bands of scar tissue can bind organs, resulting in dysfunction and damaged nerves. It's a debilitating condition I've suffered from for 20 years.
Symptoms include chronic pelvic pain, pain with menstruation and ovulation, excessive bleeding, infertility, nausea, food intolerances, fatigue, pneumothorax, and more. For patients who exhibit symptoms, there is an average 7- to 10- year delay in getting the diagnosis, which can have devastating consequences.
Currently the only way to confirm a diagnosis is through laparoscopy, in which a camera is inserted into incisions in the pelvis or abdomen, and biopsy of the lesions.
The idea of living with an incurable illness weighs heavy on me, but the condition can be managed with a timely diagnosis and an effective treatment plan. I've learned that happiness, joy, and pain can coexist in our strange reality we call life. I used to think my body was letting me down. In fact, it never did. It was just pleading for help.
If you're experiencing symptoms of endometriosis, speak with a healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment.
In these images: A self-portrait in one of Australia's tea tree lakes, known for healing properties. The water's red color comes from the tree tannins. Second, laparoscopic incisions. Third, an IUD (intrauterine device) can deliver hormonal therapy. Last, a TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) machine can help with pain management by blocking signals and stimulating nerves.
For more about the condition, go to the link in bio. #Endometriosis #EndometriosisAwarenessMonth #ChronicPain