What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a gynaecological disease that affects 1 in 10 women. This chronic disease is characterized by the presence of endometrial-like tissue (the mucous membrane that lines the inside of the uterus) outside the uterus, whether in the genital organs (uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries), the digestive tract or the urinary system. Endometriosis is a poorly understood disease, which takes an average of 7 years to diagnose. In some cases, the most severely affected women have to undergo major surgery, including the insertion of a urinary catheter and/or colostomy (artificial anus). This disease can be extremely painful and disabling in everyday life, but it is also the leading cause of infertility. Endometriosis therefore often has moral and physical consequences on the lives of women who have to live with this disease: misunderstanding, lack of support, changes to one's body, pain during intercourse, sometimes even mourning the loss of a pregnancy.
Why can endometriosis lead to a colostomy?
Endometriosis is often diagnosed quite late. Long years during which the disease has time to develop in the body, sometimes even reaching the intestines, rectum and colon. In such cases, people may experience severe pain that extends to the lower back when defecating, whether outside or during the cycle, as well as the presence of blood in the stools. In such cases, it is sometimes difficult to relieve the pain with medication alone. Specialists may therefore decide to intervene surgically, as the disease has a serious impact on the lives of menstruating people. The surgeon installs a colostomy to allow the patient to heal and avoid complications.
But what is a colostomy?
Colostomy is a surgical procedure in which the colon is connected to the skin to allow lthe evacuation of stool via an external collection pouch. An artificial anus is created by surgically connecting the large intestine to the skin. The colostomy can be kept in place for a period of 3 to 6 months, and in some rare cases, menstruating patients are left with a colostomy for life.
How do you live with a colostomy?
Whether for a few months or for life, menstruating people need time to accept this colostomy, which is placed on the stomach, especially since a small piece of intestine is visible. It can be scary to touch it at first, and to take care of it yourself, especially when it comes to changing the pouch. But don't panic! There are several ways of coming to terms with it and accepting your new body. First of all, specialists are there to help women who have to go through this ordeal: they take the time to show the various gestures that need to be made on a daily basis. After a colostomy, it's all a matter of getting used to the fact that it's possible to resume a normal life, going out, going to restaurants, working, having a relationship, etc. To continue to feel "feminine" and regain confidence, there are also specialized colostomy lingerie with lace to hide it, but some panties will also do the trick to feel good about your body! Our menstrual panties are soft and made from organic cotton, so they won't irritate your intimate area!
To see Raphaëlle's testimony, suffering from endometriosis and living with a colostomy, click here:
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