Imagine waking up, preparing to delightfully jump out of bed to pursue the black girl sorcery that the day has set forth for you, but you are paralyzed because there are 100 knives stabbing you in your uterus and blood from your sacred space seems to leave you in quarts.
This traumatic reality is one that women with endometriosis struggle with for 7-9 days each and every month.
According to BlackDoctor.Org, about 10% of women in the U.S. are affected by endometriosis, so that means that about 5 million women consider physically cutting their own uteruses out of their bodies at least once a month. Endometriosis is a painful reproductive condition where the tissue that normally grows on the inside of the uterus abnormally grows on the outside, which results in painful scarring and inflammation that can yield permanent side-effects.
It's estimated that 30-40 percent of women that are diagnosed with endometriosis may become infertile, one reason why many women are taking advantage of procedures like egg-freezing. This list of women includes pop singer, Halsey, who recently opened up on The Doctors about her personal experience with the painful condition. She mentioned that it is one that her mother, and her mother's mother also endured.
"My whole life, my mother had always told me, 'Women in our family just have really bad periods.' It was just something she thought she was cursed to deal with and I was cursed to deal with, and that was just a part of my life."
Halsey said that the added stress from her chaotic professional life only intensified her symptoms. She was misdiagnosed a number of times before she discovered that the root of her problems were endometriosis. The singer went on to describe the time when her condition escalated and she wound up bleeding and passed out in the middle of the road, which led to her being hospitalized.
"The thing with endometriosis is a lot of it comes down to... I think doctors can tend to minimize the female experience when it comes to dealing with it."
"My tour manager had to take me to a hospital. And the whole time I was there, no one knew what to tell me. Dehydration, stress, anxiety. And I'm saying, what about my pain?"
While there are some holistic treatment options, there are no preventive measures or cures for the condition, which leaves many women playing catch-up for a week every month due to the diabolical and debilitating disease that is endometriosis.
When I was 16, I went to the doctor about my extremely painful periods and overwhelming blood flow, and he prescribed a birth control that led me to develop gallbladder stones and I had to have an organ removed before I was 18. Here I am, 25 years old and doctors still have the same solution, and I ain't going for it. Halsey said that she was finally diagnosed and had surgery in 2017 and I can only imagine her relief.
"It was the relief of knowing that I wasn't making it up, and I wasn't being sensitive, and it wasn't all in my head, but it also kind of sucked to know that I was going to be living with this forever."
The "Bad At Love" singer said that she made the decision to put her foot down and become more aggressive about her treatment after a traumatic experience on stage.
"I was on tour, and I found out I was pregnant. Before I could really figure out what that meant to me and what that meant for my future... the next thing I knew, I was on stage miscarrying in the middle of my concert. The sensation of looking a couple hundred teenagers in the face while you're bleeding through your clothes and still having to do the show, and realizing in that moment... I never want to make that choice ever again of doing what I love or not being able to because of this disease."
"The sensation of looking a couple hundred teenagers in the face while you're bleeding through your clothes and still having to do the show, and realizing in that moment... I never want to make that choice ever again."
Halsey is among the women that are becoming more proactive about her condition, by considering options like egg freezing and laparoscopic surgery. She reminds us that although endometriosis can be a real bitch, we're the ones in charge of both our bodies and our quality of life.
"I'm 23 years old, and I'm going to freeze my eggs. And when I tell people that, they're like, 'You're 23, why do you need to do that? Why do you need to freeze your eggs?' Doing an ovarian reserve is important to me because I'm fortunate enough to have that as an option, but I need to be aggressive about protecting my fertility, about protecting myself."
To watch the full interview, watch below:
Featured image by Denise Truscello/Getty Images for LARAS