Between the ages of 13 and 21, I never knew I had a sickness. It is called endometriosis, and it causes severe pain. It makes me feel just like a lady in labor or that I was in a tragic car crash. Endometriosis can make it hard for women, like myself, to get pregnant.

Endometriosis disabled me. I had to be bed-ridden for weeks at a time. It had me in and out of emergency rooms. The doctors early on misdiagnosing me, thinking I had a sexually-transmitted disease.

Endometriosis effects how the tissue that normally lines the uterus during a women’s menstrual cycle grows.

The tissue that lines the uterus is called the endometrium, and when a woman is experiencing her menstrual cycle, a new endometrium grows. If she doesn’t become pregnant, the endometrium is shed.

When Endometriosis happens, the endometrium grows outside of the uterus.

These endometriosis growths, called endometrial implants, can also occur in places including on the ovaries, the fallopian tubs, and the internal area between the vagina and rectum.

It can be very painful. Not to sound shocking, but it makes me feel like I have a fire burning inside my vagina.

Doctors don’t know what causes endometriosis. I don’t claim it. I mean, I have it, and I deal with it, but I don’t claim it.

In some of the research I’ve done, I have found that it affects more than 5 million American women, including teen girls. And it’s not always diagnosed early.

I take medication, but I also exercise, and I try to eat healthy. I have to get up at 5:30 in the morning to go to work, but I try to do pilates and other exercises before I go. I keep an active life, visiting my mother, who lives on the South Side, and visiting my nieces.

And I’ve always wanted kids. I’m 35 now. If I could, I would probably have a house full of kids by now. I want to adopt, and I don’t mind being a single mother, but I would like to be married.

Having endometriosis hasn’t stopped me from living my life. Never that.

I wanted to share this with other women. Maybe they’ll read my story and get themselves checked out. Maybe there are women who don’t even know they have it right now. They may be thinking they have a sexually-transmitted disease, like what the doctor’s told me. I also pray and put my faith in the lord.

In finding out all I can about endometriosis, there are things a woman can do to deal with it.

Take a warm bath. I take as many as I can. And you can cleanse your system. I’ve read that drinking cranberry juice is good. That’s very good to help clean out your system.

Do all you can and stay positive.

Information on endometriosis is available at medical sites online. Visit, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ website, for more information.