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26 Pictures People With Endometriosis Want You To See

It's not just a bad period.

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We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to share pictures of what their life with endometriosis is really like in honor of Endometriosis Awareness Month.

2.

ZeroSeven

About nine months out from a surgical diagnosis that was originally meant to remove an ovarian cyst on an ovary that was assumed to be keeping us from conceiving again. Come to find out it was more than just a cyst — it was an intense case of endometriosis and adhesions! Three weeks out of the month my king-size heating pad follows me wherever I go! —zeroseven

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3.

Emilee Richmond

The top photo is what finally got my doctor to schedule my laparoscopy after 10 plus years of extreme period pain and being told it was just in my head. This would happen after every period for about three days, the second photo is about a week after my period. And yes it was extremely painful and sensitive. —emileearichmond

5.

Jennifer Gainer W

This is me within about two hours of leaving recovery from my total hysterectomy at age 36. I had Endo's fraternal twin sister, adenomyosis with multiple fibroids and adhesions from two C-sections. Change doctors. Advocate for yourself. Don't let yourself be ignored if your pain is real. —jennifergainerw

6.

Meredith W

I am a college majorette living with endometriosis. I was diagnosed this February after multiple ER visits with severe abdominal pain, but I've known that I've had it ever since I started getting periods. My cramps have always been disabling, I bloat out to a point where I look pregnant, and of course there is the random, uninvited pains that come and go when they please. This picture was taken during a performance, and there is nothing that I love to do more, and I refuse to let my endometriosis hold me back from doing what I love. I'm having my first explorative laparoscopy this summer in the hopes of alleviating some of my issues I've faced with this disease so I can twirl pain (and bloat) free! —meredithw459b94f9d

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7.

Chloe G

Prescription ibuprofen and pain pills on my bedside table! (I also have Advil in every single purse and school bag) I have to take one first thing in the morning, before I go to bed, and sometimes in the middle of the night when I wake up from the pain. —chloeg308

8.

Autumn F

Alllll the negative tests. I discovered I had endometriosis when I went to an infertility doctor. I never knew painful periods were not normal. Now three years later and my husband and I can’t conceive. Most people don’t have to pay to have a baby. —autumnf8

9.

Abbi F

This photo was taken the day after I had the Nexplanon implant inserted to attempt to help with my endo. I’m one of the lucky ones because it's helped me, but I know this isn’t true for everyone. —abbif2

10.

buzzfeed.com

This is two days after my fourth laparoscopy for endometriosis. My uterus was stuck to my bladder. Endometriosis was removed from both ovaries, Fallopian tubes, uterus, bladder, etc. The doctor said it has “eaten through” parts of my abdominal lining, and there just isn’t anything to do now to help that. —lyndzred

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12.

Lauren R

Aftermath of my laparoscopy that revealed moderate-severe endometriosis on my urethra, bladder, and ovary. My endo lead to pelvic floor dysfunction and vulvodynia, so the combination of everything can make life really difficult. I’m a fighter, that’s for sure —laurenr4f8e8b0a4

14.

Macaylah

This was after I got home from the hospital following my first laparoscopy in August. I was diagnosed with endometriosis that day, although it had been suspected for years. This disorder gets me down quite frequently. Feeling like a prisoner in my own body, knowing nothing I try will ever truly cure the chronic pain we all face. Being told to take "Advil". Missing out on special moments because I can’t get out of bed due to the pelvic pain, back pain, exhaustion, and nausea. —macaylah

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15.

Alaricisbae

Here’s me getting an ultrasound just a few months ago because for months doctors had absolutely no clue what was happening to me. I went to so many specialists, had many ultrasounds, switched birth controls sooo many times and even had to get a camera shoved down my throat. Finally last month I was diagnosed with Endometriosis and even with a birth control that helps I have to stay home most days because of the awful pain. —alaricisbae

18.

buzzfeed.com

I have very severe pain if I get a period. Even after two laparoscopic surgeries in 1.5 years, I often have to stay home from work and spend the day in bed. I get through this with my trusty heating pad and my cat, Diane, who always comes to cuddle. I don’t know how I would have gotten through the last couple years without her. —emilyc49ef28cce

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22.

buzzfeed.com

I took this picture after my first laparoscopy. I was so exhausted and sad. I didn’t get the diagnosis then because they said they had to remove a lot of adhesions and ovarian cysts and couldn’t find any endometriosis. I started to question my own mind because they didn’t know where the pain came from and neither did I. Two years, a lot of pain killers and several ovarian cysts later, I got another laparoscopy scraping of my uterus. I was diagnosed with endometriosis which came with painful adenomyosis. This picture reminds me of the cute teddy bear my best friend gave to me to cheer me up, It reminds me of the support I got from my friends and family, they pushed me to search for a cause for my pain and in the end, I did get one. —mary-gracew

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24.

Anna Roses

I’m known throughout my high school for my bloating because one day people think I’m pregnant and the next I look normal. Endometriosis has made me feel horrible about my body but I’m finally starting to own my bloat. —annaroses3

25.

Mallory

Here I am after receiving pain meds for a flare-up for stage 2 endo. I had to be brought in by ambulance, I was in so much pain I couldn't even walk to my car. I was trying to stay positive and give a peace sign. :) —malloryst

26.

Ali Velez

Here I am finally going in for surgery in 2013. After almost a decade of my pain being shrugged off by doctors as "bad cramps," I finally found a doctor who HEARD me. On my very first visit, which was supposed to just be a consultation, I told her about my pain and my symptoms and she said, "let's do an ultrasound right now, OK?" On that very same day, she diagnosed my long-untreated endometriosis, told me about the giant cysts she found on my ovaries, and scheduled me for surgery ASAP. She performed the surgery herself, and she is still the doctor I trust most in this world. —alivelez

Note: some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Thank you to everyone for your submissions. We couldn’t include them all, but let it be known that you’re all warriors.

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