As many as one in ten women live with the debilitating but invisible inflammatory condition
It occurs when the endometrial tissue that usually grows inside the uterus each month in preparation for implantation of a fertilised egg, grows outside the uterus instead, for example on the ovaries or bowel. Symptoms vary, but for most women the most obvious is painful, heavy periods. Amelia shares her story...
“I had been living with endometriosis for far longer than I had realised before I was diagnosed.
“I had always had heavy, painful periods. Then I began experiencing pain in other parts of my body, my back and legs, cramps in my pelvic area, an aching, constant discomfort, that would come and go.I had unexplained headaches. I started feeling bloated. There were irregular changes in my bowel movements, diarrhea/diarrhoeaor constipation, feeling gassy. All these symptoms would come and go, occurring irregularly without perceivable causes so I couldn’t identify a pattern or predict them.
“The only constant I felt was chronic fatigue. I was so tired. Every day. And what made me more tired was the thought that I had all these unexplained symptoms that were beginning to pile up with no answers to what was causing them. I didn’t look sick, but I felt like I had an invisible illness.
“By the time I was 23, I had already undergone five years of continual specialist appointments to try to figure out what was going on in my body.
“Painful sex was the tipping point where my specialists felt there was enough evidence of possible endometriosis to schedule a laparoscopy. A laparoscopy is keyhole surgery, where incisions are made into the bellybutton, abdomen and groin to insert slim tools with cameras on the end to view the endometriosis tissue and confirm its presence so it can be removed. Unfortunately, this is currently the only way to diagnose endometriosis, which was one of the reasons we exhausted all other specialist avenues before resorting to the surgery.
“During the laparoscopy they successfully identified and removed my endometriosis. I finally had a name for my condition.
“That was five years ago. After recovering from the surgery, I noticed positive improvements to a lot of my symptoms, but I still had heavy and irregular periods as well as pelvic pain.
“Even before my diagnosis, I had been actively seeking a better solution for period management. The pain I felt while having sex had become so bad that I now felt pain when using super tampons. I couldn’t rely on sanitary liners alone as my sensitive skin would quickly become irritated after a couple of days of use, and I would have to change my liners every couple of hours to keep them as fresh as possible. I felt so wasteful and I was exhausted by the cost of sanitary products and amount of effort required for one quarter of each month.
“I began to loathe getting my period. It was starting to take over my life. I needed a solution that didn’t involve tampons, a menstrual cup, sanitary pads or liners – which was no easy feat! That was when I came across the fairly new concept of period underwear. I didn’t know anyone else at the time who was using period underwear to manage their menstrual cycles, so I considered myself a pioneer in my social circle. Having a heavy flow, I decided to start testing as many brands as I could find to see if any would be suitable for me.
“My initial trials were not promising. Contrary to product claims that you could wear the underwear on their own to manage your period, I quickly realised I was not one of the people that fell into this category. They just weren’t robust enough to support me during my heavier days and I would quickly reach the maximum absorbency and have to change to another pair. The positive was I could wear them instead of sanitary pads and liners, but I still relied heavily on tamponsas the first few brands I tried were only suitable to catch light leakage.
“I was becoming sceptical about the success of
when I came across Just’nCase. My immediate impression was that the absorbent lining in their Extra Absorbency underwear was a little thicker than the other brands I’d tried. Here was a brand that was not trying to make their absorbent lining as thin as possible, and it gave me a boost of hope that maybe I had found a product that could support my heavy flow.
“The first time I wore them I made sure I wouldn’t need to leave the house. I didn’t want to risk going through the lining, as I had with the other brands I had used, while I was away from home. To my surprise, they held my heaviest period day – this was a big box ticked for me, the absorbent technology worked for heavier periods and I hadn’t needed to use a tampon!
“I immediately ordered more pairs of Just’nCase including the lighter Everyday Absorbency option to try as well. The following month I committed myself to using only Just’nCase period underwear for the entirety of my menstrual cycle.
“Again, I had success using the Just’nCase period underwear on their own without tampons. It took a little while to get used to, especially as I had always used tampons, but once I adjusted, I found I couldn’t go back to tampons and sanitary liners.
“Not only was Just’nCaseable to protect me on my heaviest days, it felt like I was wearing normal underwear. The higher waist helps support my tummy when I feel bloated. It makes me feel like I’m wearing flexible shapewear but without the extreme tightness of holding everything in too much. I still have a full range of movement and can comfortably breathe, but feel securely enclosed around the sensitive, painful area of my pelvis during my most vulnerable time of the month.
“Just’nCase period pants have been a game-changer for me. I have stopped getting skin irritations and have been able to stop using tampons, which was a huge step forward in my pain management, as using tampons would flare up my pelvic pain each month.
“Although I continue to have occasional flare-ups,with the help of a pain management course prescribed by my GP, I have been able to take back some control of my life. That is a win for me!
“This is not a paid review. I genuinely believe in these underwear from my own personal experiences using them and would confidently recommend them to others in a similar situation to myself. They’ve had such a positive impact on my life – whether you’re living with endometriosis or have heavy periods, I hope they do the same for you.”
We would like to thank Amelia (not her real name) for sharing her powerful story with us. Symptoms of endometriosis include painful periods (dysmenorrhea/dysmenorrhoea),
heavy periods (menorrhagia)
, bleeding between periods (metrorrhagia), bloating, diarrhea/diarrhoea, constipation, painful wind, painful intercourse (dyspareunia), infertility, tiredness, back pain, PMS and bladder issues. If you are experiencing these symptoms contact your doctor for advice.
If you think your story might be helpful to others please let us know by emailing us in confidence on firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!