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Endometriosis is a common disease in which the tissue that is similar to the lining of the womb grows outside it in other parts of the body.
More than 830,000 (more than 11%) of Australian women suffer from endometriosis at some point in their life with the disease often starting in teenagers.
While March may be Endo Awareness Month, sufferers see every month as endo month, with every minute depending on how they’re feeling at that moment.
Swimwear designer, Rebecca Klodinsky was diagnosed with the disease in September 2020. She recounts the persistent inflammation and pain, chronic stabbing in her stomach, back and legs; like an erupting volcano deep inside of her.
The extreme exhaustion and fatigue that were accompanied by headaches that lasted days. The 31-year-old’s endo journey started out of nowhere, however, hit hard and fast.
In a year that was plagued by a pandemic, Rebecca also had the stress of running her multimillion dollar swimwear brand, IIXIIST while being locked-down inside an AFL isolation-hub for months on end with her partner Lachie Henderson, a player for the Geelong Cats, and their toddler, as the disease started to take-hold of her body.
The cause? Chronic stress.
Clinical studies have shown that when the body is under stress, it produces a hormone called cortisol, and overtime, producing too much cortisol can harm your immune system’s ability to function.
Stress is also known to increase inflammation in the body, which plays a dominating role in endo. While we may read that “stress is the biggest killer”, there is still a gaping hole around normalising the severity of it, and how exactly it can wreak havoc on our bodies.
At the end of last year, chronic stress took it’s toll on Rebecca’s body and she was diagnosed with endo.
Rebecca’s symptoms started in the early stages of her partner’s AFL season. Being a woman with the mentality to “just get on with it”, she didn’t not slow-down nor acknowledge the pain, but instead tried to keep her head above water. A trait that most young, working mums most likely can relate too.
It wasn’t until she left the hub in September, where the pain had escalated to a place she couldn’t ignore, that Rebecca sought out help.
Over the four months that followed she had countless visits with her doctor, prodding and poking, underwent a laparoscopy and a hysteroscopy, while fulfilling her duties of sole carer to her son and business owner.
Since her operation on January 6th 2021, Rebecca is still in recovery-mode hoping the disease does not rear its ugly head again.
Earlier this year, Rebecca underwent surgery for endometriosis.
The only thing more painful than having endometriosis, is not knowing you have it. You feel like you’re losing your mind, it can affect your mental health, physical health, career, relationships and more. If you’re a woman who thinks she has to suffer from this disease in silence, please don’t.
Educate yourself and reach out for support. Pain is never normal – it’s your body telling you something is wrong. Arm yourself with questions to ask your doctor.
Raising awareness of this condition is imperative, and talking about endometriosis is what will help with transparency. We have a duty to say it’s not OK, and we won’t let it be OK.
The Worldwide Endo March, previously called the Million Women March for Endometriosis, is a worldwide campaign aimed at raising awareness of Endometriosis, a disease that affects 1 in 9 women and those who identify as gender diverse, that’s approximately 200 million worldwide.
The campaign and its events are all run by volunteers who are passionate about creating change for those with endometriosis to raise funds, increase education and raise awareness.
To find out more about what’s happening around the world and to find out more about the events’ origins, go to http://www.endomarch.org
Rebecca is the founder of swimwear brand, IIXIIST and celebrities including Kim Kardashian, Hailey Bieber and Rihanna and fans of the label.