What TV Shows Get Wrong About Endometriosis
My battle to be diagnosed with endometriosis and adenomyosis has been a long one: 11 years for adenomyosis and 13 years for endometriosis.
I was misdiagnosed with IBS and an anxiety disorder for years. I’m pretty sure I have medical trauma from enduring multiple humiliating examinations and being told that I was perfectly healthy, when in fact I was living with two excruciatingly painful conditions.
I was lucky: my laparoscopy revealed that I had superficial endometriosis, which was excised, but I live with the symptoms of adenomyosis every day.
Why am I telling you this?
Because my experience makes it all the more frustrating to see the depiction of endometriosis in TV shows like “Eastenders” and the new “Conversations with Friends” be completely incorrect and in my opinion, invalidating.
In “Eastenders,” I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to follow Ruby Fowler’s story with interest — it was about time mainstream media and TV shows covered an invisible illness that affects one in 10 women. However, I was disappointed.
This week, I stumbled across “Conversations with Friends” on the BBC after reading an email from Endometriosis U.K., and again, I was disappointed in the way Frances’ story of being diagnosed with endo was portrayed.
So, what did these two storylines have in common?
- Both women were “diagnosed” with endometriosis without a laparoscopy being performed (“Eastenders” later attempted to write this into the storyline, but it was too messy by this point).
- Both women continued to work, socialize, and live a somewhat “normal” lifestyle, which isn’t possible for many women with endometriosis and/or adenomyosis.
- The way endometriosis was described was incorrect, for example, in “Conversations with Friends,” it was explained to be “when the uterus lining grows in other places in the body” — this is incorrect, the cells are not the uterus lining, they are similar to the uterus lining.
Misinformation will continue if we don’t challenge the way endometriosis is portrayed. Everyone experiences it differently and to varying degrees of pain, but for those of us who struggle every day and worry about our futures, fertility, and quality of life, we should be able to rely on an entity like the BBC to get it right.
Getty image by Hirurg.