THE INNER LAYER OF THE UTERUS IS CALLED ENDOMETRY – it is to it that the egg is attached after fertilization, and it is renewed once a month during menstruation. Sometimes endometrial cells begin to behave incorrectly and invade new territories where they do not belong. They can gain a foothold anywhere – create obstruction of the fallopian tubes, grow around some vessels in the abdominal cavity, or, for example, gain a foothold in the lacrimal gland; wherever they are, they continue to behave as if they are still in the womb, and once a month they will renew and therefore bleed. Sometimes these cells grow into the muscle layer of the uterus – this is called adenomyosis. Inside the muscle tissue, a kind of capsule with endometrial cells appears, which at some point begins to bleed. A cavity with blood appears inside the muscle, from where there is no exit, and sooner or later the inflammatory process begins.
Why this is happening, no one knows yet: there are tests for genetic predisposition, but the risk group includes all women who live an active life in big cities. Endometriosis can be called a common disease: according to some reports , every tenth woman has it; this means that if a gynecologist sees ten patients a day, he may face this disease every day. Nevertheless, it is far from always possible to make a diagnosis immediately – sometimes this is preceded by years of treatment for non-existent diseases and even surgery. Katya Dolinina told how she lives with endometriosis and what difficulties she had to go through.
I am twenty-five years old, by my first education I am a fashion designer, and now I am finishing my master’s degree in film criticism and theory. About five years ago, I opened a clothing brand with my boyfriend, but both the business and the relationship came to naught. Now I am writing a dissertation on Iranian cinema, I teach a lot (I am a private teacher of painting and drawing) and so far I am not making any plans for further defense. When I was a teenager, I went to the hospital a couple of times with stomach pains, but they let me go after a few days without finding any explanation. The older I got, the more often this happened. Once every couple of months I could wake up from a dull pulling pain, get up, take a pill and go to bed. For some reason, during the day, I forgot about it and, until the pains became regular and began to take over the daytime, I did not go to the doctor. I came to the gynecologist with this problem at the age of nineteen – and only five years later I received the long-awaited piece of paper with my real diagnosis.
The first gynecologist said that I have uterine fibroids, even two – but myoma cannot hurt. The doctor added that it is normal for a woman to endure pain, and advised her to drink some herbs like a “red brush”. I did not drink herbs, but continued to endure the pain. Once every couple of months I did an ultrasound, every uzist said that it looked very strange and actually looked like a capsule with liquid inside the muscle of the uterus, but this cannot be – in fact, of course, it was a capsule with liquid inside the muscle … The pain intensified, and I drank more and more painkillers. At some point, I caught myself that if I leave the house without pills, then I start to panic – and I rather ran to the pharmacy. In my memories of that time, pain is present permanently. I could sit in a meeting with friends, a couple for painting or English courses and just sway from side to side, trying to maintain an adequate look. I answered slowly, I could not concentrate on anything and did not understand what to do – after all, the doctor said that everything was fine with me.