Overthinking female chronic pain: how I’m playing the socially constructed role of a sensible endometriosis patient.

Endometriosis is a feminist issue — the condition has been ruining women’s lives for centuries, yet it is still under-researched and poorly understood.

“oh, you know, female basketball players struggle to give birth anyway, so you better stop doing sports anyhow”.

You might wonder — has anyone ever asked her if she had even considered being a mother back then? The answer is simple: no.

Source: BBC Three

It appears that “for hundreds of years, pain in menstruating women has not qualified as a medical mystery worthy of actually solving” (Dusenbery, 2018).

Photo by Erol Ahmed on Unsplash

However, there are also these critical situations, where there is no time to rehearse your patient — doctor appointment. The times when pain is so real that all you want to do is tell them how it really is, scream and demand medical support.

Kimberley was in severe pain and demanded medical support. She broke out of the nice female patient role and turned into a fighter who fought for her life, health and voices of other female patients. She cried, screamed and demanded help. Nevertheless, her pain was still dismissed.

Women with endometriosis have been told they are just overreacting to “normal” menstrual cramps, while still others have “contested” illnesses like chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia that, dogged by psychosomatic suspicions, have yet to be fully accepted as “real” diseases by the whole of the profession.‘

Image source: BBC

My feminist voice inside of me is screaming. Not only because I can’t often finish my sentence without being interrupted while discussing my pain, but because endometriosis and women’s health issues have been systematically ignored for years.

Last year, I went to see a doctor to discuss my endometriosis symptoms. To cheer me up, the specialist told me something I have heard again and again — ‘don’t worry hun, your endometriosis gets cured once you get pregnant*’.

What was my reaction? I played my female-patient role well. I agreed, left and allowed myself to be emotional later that day.




Dr Alicja Pawluczuk (AKA hy_stera) writes about digital humanities, feminism, and social justice → www.alicjapawluczuk.com + www.hystera.online

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

COVID-19; The 21st Century Pandemic Forcing Us All To Stay Home And Do As Little As Wash Our Hands.

The N95 surgical masks are not just saving lives, but making a fashion statement.

It’s ‘My Body, My Choice’ Unless You’re a Woman

What are various tips to help Quit Snoring throughout thenight https://t.co/hKePE1mCnr

Making America Healthy Again

Episode 2: Using Implantable Loop Recorders (ILR) For Arrhythmia Diagnosis

Diabetes Epidemic May Be Abating in Some Areas: IDF Atlas

Why folding paper is weirdly like the coronavirus

Yoga is not “woo-woo” anymore: yoga can reduce inflammation, according to research

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Alicja Pawluczuk

Alicja Pawluczuk

Dr Alicja Pawluczuk (AKA hy_stera) writes about digital humanities, feminism, and social justice → www.alicjapawluczuk.com + www.hystera.online

More from Medium

To My Mother: The Things I Left Out of My Letter

Allow Yourself to See the World From a New Perspective

Normalise Talking About Depression in Church (The Pastor with a Thorn in His Side Book Review)

Ask me how my mother died; what to say to a grieving friend and why it matters