There are symptom cross-over with Crohn’s disease and endometriosis.
What’s it like to live with both endometriosis and Crohn’s disease?
A confusing mélange of overlapping symptoms like sudden flare-ups with chronic inflammation, abdominal pain, bowel pain and fatigue. By conservative estimates, 7 million American women have endometriosis, while 780,000 American men and women have Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes inflammation of the digestive tract. Countless women with endometriosis spend years misdiagnosed as having IBD or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). However, an unreported number indeed live life with both Crohn’s and endo.
Maddy Gross, 22, is one of them. The Maryland-native and comedian says that her parents always told her she had a “funny tummy.” She thought daily stomach aches were the norm for everyone. It wasn’t until her senior year of high school when Gross experienced mystery symptoms like slurred speech and circulation issues. Doctors initially diagnosed her with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), a nervous system disorder, but further testing revealed Crohn’s. Unfortunately, Gross’s health scare didn’t end there. After years of irregular periods and pelvic pain, she underwent a laparoscopy and was diagnosed with endometriosis in December.
“All of my pain related to endometriosis had always been in a similar area as the Crohn’s,” recalls Gross, “but I could tell that this was different. But I just thought this was a different Crohn’s-related thing. I kept thinking ‘no way is there that much wrong with me.'”
Shireen Hand says since age 12, her periods have left her doubled over and bleeding through her clothes.
“It wasn’t until I started experiencing pain during sex when I was 21 that I started to think something might be wrong,” Hand, now 34, tells The Blossom. The Leicestershire, UK-native and blogger was diagnosed with endometriosis at age 22.
Even though her brother has Crohn’s, she never expected that she would one day too—but the signs were there. In January she was hospitalized after a sudden bout of nausea, diarrhea, and intense abdominal pain. She thought she had food poisoning, her doctor suspected appendicitis, but she was sent home anyway. The pain only worsened. In February she collapsed from contraction-like abdominal cramps and was rushed via ambulance to an ER. It seemed like a nasty endo flare-up, but this time things went horribly awry.
|Read on: Life With Crohn’s And Endometriosis: An Overlap Of Painful Sympto|