Sleeping With Endometriosis: 6 Nighttime Struggles That Leave Me Tired in the Morning
After taking a glimpse at the title, you might think this piece of writing would be about some wild love affair I am having with a man named endometriosis. Unfortunately, this is not a romance novel, and endometriosis is not a dreamy businessperson. (Cue sighs.) It is a real life chronic illness I am sure many of you by now know I have.
If you have not noticed, endometriosis is exhausting. Even the word itself is exhausting to say. Fatigue is one of my number one symptoms I experience from this illness. I truly believe it stems from my sleep being different than most others’ sleep. Those with chronic illnesses I am sure can vouch for that. I am practically envious of those who can put their head on a pillow, zonk out and wake up rejuvenated the next morning. In fact, I forgot what that even feels like! I am pretty convinced the last amazing sleep I had was before my mother gave birth to me.
Women struggle with sleep problems more so than men do. Research has shown that hormones can affect women’s sleep. For most of us, we all in a way struggle with getting a good night’s sleep. Between work worries, money stressors and family stressors, it is a given that every once in a while humans will not get the appropriate sleep they need. However, those with chronic illnesses have even more stressors that keep them tossing and turning at night. Here are six annoying things that keep me up at night and leave me groggy in the morning.
1. Hot Flashes
One of the “treatments” offered to help maintain endometriosis is a pill that puts your body into menopause, which would mean experiencing menopausal symptoms. I opted out of that treatment because I did not want to go through that. Yet, here I am, still experiencing menopausal symptoms. Just about every night I wake up drenched in a puddle of sweat. Some nights I get to the point where I need to rip off my clothes because I feel closed in. My hormones find it funny to attack around 3:00 a.m., leaving me exhausted come morning time.
2. Pain and Discomfort
This one is a hit or miss. Some nights I truly can make it through the night without much pain. What exactly I ate or did that day is usually the determining factor. The nights pain decides to sweep me off my feet are miserable. Between my ribs feeling like they are cracking, pressure on my bottom from my bowels and sharp pains shooting in many directions in my stomach, I do not get much shuteye.
Ah, good old pal named anxiety. No matter how hard I try to turn my mind off, it just does not happen. Thoughts from things that happened years ago leave me bright-eyed and thinking about all the what ifs. Conversations, things I have done, have not done and need to do keep me anxious at night. Wondering if I locked the front door and turned off the stove (that I had not even used that day) crosses my mind.
This in a way goes hand in hand with anxiety, but I felt it deserved its own category. Even if my mind is slightly turned off, I toss and turn. The amount of restlessness I experience is ridiculous.
5. Using the Bathroom
I can go an entire day without drinking water and still have to get up and pee 50 times at night. My gynecologist had told me during one of my ultrasounds that my bladder is incredibly small. Between the pressure from the bloat on my stomach and my “incredibly small” bladder, it makes for a not so fun night.
These do not occur every night. I usually wake up with them as a result from not sleeping. However, there are some nights where a migraine will bless me with its presence in the middle of the night. This type of migraine wakes me up in dead sleep. They are so bad that laying down and closing my eyes almost makes it worse. When I have nights like these, you can count on zero sleep and a very grouchy person in the morning.
We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.