Woman shares story during Endometriosis Awareness Month - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

Woman shares story during Endometriosis Awareness Month

[Source KSWO] [Source KSWO]

LAWTON, OK (KSWO)- March is Endometriosis awareness month. According to the Endometriosis Association,an estimated 176 million women in the U-S suffer from the painful disease that affects the uterus.

"Pain is not normal,” said Mary Solenberg, a patient suffering from Endometriosis.

She was in her early teens when she started experiencing symptoms that would soon cause her to live the next couple years of her life in severe pain.

"Six years ago, I finally heard the word Endometriosis," said Solenberg.

Endometriosis is a disease that occurs when tissue that is normally found in the uterus grows outside the uterus. This misplaced tissue, called lesions, can grow on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and other areas around the pelvis.

"I have been in pain for fifteen years or longer,” said Solenberg. “My pelvic muscles and pretty much all the muscles in my body especially in my pelvic area have tightened up in a big knot."

Solenberg experienced major problems when she was younger as the disease was undiagnosed. Now at 30, she has already had a radical hysterectomy. That's an operation done to treat some cancers of the cervix.

Her battle with this severely painful disease caused her to seek help in numerous places one of those being Lawton Community Health Center with OB/GYN Doctor Ralph Heirigs.

"This particular patient really had severe endometriosis, said Heirigs. “Unfortunately, mild endometriosis can cause severe pain."

He said tissue can spread beyond the pelvic region, and estrogen fuels the growth of the lesions, which then can bleed, break down, and cause pain. Common treatment of the disease is birth control pills and some cases surgery like Solenberg.

Dr. Heirigs sends a message to women who may be experiencing this discomfort.

"If women would follow up with their OB/GYN and we have excellent organs in this community, they would be able to discern whether that particular person may or may not have endometriosis,” said Heirigs.

Solenberg also had a message.

“And women we are not making up the pain so we can be drama queens or so that we can get attention,” said Solenberg. “It's a real disease that effects one and ten women and we need to be taken seriously."

For more information on Endometriosis awareness month, you can visit the website here.

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