Stories about: Center for Young Women’s Health

Endometriosis isn’t curable, but it doesn’t have to be such a pain.

Having painful cramps isn’t really something a typical 14-year-old girl wants to think or talk about. Most girls assume that it’s normal and just part of the process of growing up. But when intense pain started to interrupt Brittany Berg’s social and academic life, she knew she needed to speak up.

It began during her freshman year of high school when the pain would get so bad she couldn’t focus while she studied at night. She’d lie down, hoping for sleep, but would still be overcome with discomfort. The only female in her drum line at school, Brittany couldn’t easily explain to her bandmates why she was a little slower on some days, or why the pressure of holding the drum caused even more pain.

She tried her best to explain to her friends what she was going through, hoping they could relate, but since she didn’t understand it herself, it made little difference.

Finally, Brittany talked to her mother and saw a doctor. She had a pelvic ultrasound and was prescribed birth control pills, which are often used to regulate a women’s menstrual cycle. However, this treatment only added mild depression and weight gain to Brittany’s list of irritating symptoms. Frustrated, and still not knowing the root of her pain, Brittany tried another type of birth control pill that her doctor prescribed, one that is taken every three months instead. Even though the pain lessened a little, it was still there.

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What I wish my parents knew about endometriosis

In the following blog, a young woman shares what it’s like to live with endometriosis, a painful condition that occurs when tissue similar to the inside lining of the uterus is found outside of its normal location.

I remember when I first started having pain. I was 14 years old and told my mom about a constant pain in my side. She brushed off my comment and gave me some Advil thinking it would help. After a while the pain just never subsided so I told her I needed to see the doctor. After a number of tests, hospitalizations, surgery, and a year of searching for “what was wrong”, it was confirmed that I had endometriosis.

Even though the process of figuring out “what was wrong” had concluded, my pain was still present. It did subside a bit after going on birth control pills and other pain alleviating remedies, but every now and then there would be moments of unbearable pain. My parents and friends would comment and say things to me like “You must be feeling so much better, or “I’m so glad you’re in less pain, the surgery and medicine really must have been what you needed”. Little did they know that endo is not like a cold that goes away after a few days.

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Fact or fiction: Today’s teenagers are more wild than ever

For decades, teenagers have gotten a pretty bad rap from the generations that came before them. The clothes, hairstyles and music may change, but the age-old notion of teenagers being wilder than ever before predates anyone old enough to have the thought. Complaining about wayward teens may be a parental cliché, but that’s only because it’s true, right?

Not so fast parents: According to a new study at the University of Michigan, today’s kids are actually a little more conservative than many of you were at their age.

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Children’s to host MRKH conference

During pregnancy, a baby’s reproductive system may not finish developing in the mother’s uterus. When this happens she may be born without a vagina and have other abnormal reproductive organs, the most common being Mayer-von Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser’s Syndrome (MRKH). It’s not unusual for the condition to go undiagnosed until puberty. The Center for Young Women’s Health at Children’s Hospital Boston offers free monthly chats for young women with MRKH, as well as host an annual conference where families whose lives have been affected by MRKH can come together, bond and learn about the condition. This year’s conference is happening on October 22. (Click here for details.)

In the following blog post, a three-time conference attendee describes how the experience has changed her understanding of MRKH and ultimately her views on life.

A MRKH diagnosis can leave some young women feeling very alone

I could never have anticipated the profound effect MRKH would have on my life. At 17, I considered myself happy, confident and strong. But when I was diagnosed with MRKH all of those feelings were challenged. Suddenly, the only dream that seemed to matter was the dream of having a family.

Learning the reality of my diagnosis—I would never be pregnant because I was born without a vagina and uterus—devastated me. It shattered my confidence, robbed me of my happiness and put my strength to the ultimate test.  It’s easy to be strong when you can’t imagine a life different from what you’ve come to expect; that strength becomes harder to muster when faced with an unknown future. After diagnosis I struggled to cope with something I didn’t understand and couldn’t fix.

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