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Stories and words by and for our Mighty community.

6 People Answer 'You Know You Have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome When...'

Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) is a condition that impacts the joints, skin, and blood vessels that can lead to translucent skin, bruises, dislocations, and more. One thing about living with a health condition is that you are very rarely alone in your struggles. For example, The Mighty is a community full of people with various health conditions who understand what it’s like to live with them. That means you’re surrounded by people who not only “get it,” but they’re able to find relatable humor in their experiences. The Mighty’s editorial assistant Skye, who lives with EDS, posed a question to our EDS community with that in mind. She asked our community to fill in the prompt, “You know you’re an EDS patient when…” Her personal answers were: “Maybe you’ve been sitting at the dinner table with friends when someone points out that you’re sitting with your legs intertwined in an ‘impossible’ position, or you could be on your third specialist appointment of the day and still have physical therapy that evening.  My most recent ‘You know you’re an EDS patient when…’ moment happened when I squatted to play with my dog and my dad said, ‘How does a human move like that? You have frog legs!’” Her fellow zebras understood the assignment, and came forth with their own answers to the prompt immediately. Wait, the way I’m sitting is weird? “I was sitting on the couch watching TV with my mom. She looks at me, ‘Uhm is that seriously comfortable?’ In my head, I’m like ‘You know the answer. I’m 33, you know me.’ I’m like ‘Yes. Yes, I very much am in my pretzel shape.’” – @Dakota0419 “Just yesterday I had a coworker ask me ‘Are you really comfortable like that?’ and I was in a full squat. Feet flat on the ground and knees to my chest. I looked up and said ‘It’s comfier than standing,” and he just shook his head and walked away.” -@Meagancsantaa Ouch, that hurt. “When you can put your legs behind your head but can’t hold a pencil right. When you fall asleep on the couch sideways and your spina bifida vertebra adds two extra fractures and cysts filled with spinal fluid.” – Jessica MacLean “You know you’re an EDS patient when you sleep in the butterfly stretch position and you’ve subluxated your wrist brushing your teeth.” -@Megandorriesfield852 “…When one mosquito bite turns into a whole body itch-fest!” – KJ Did someone say bruises? “…When you wake up with multiple unexplained bruises after a night’s sleep.” – @Moontide99 What about you? How would you answer this prompt ? Let us know below or comment on the original post!

What Helps a Woman in Her Twenties With Narcolepsy

With our ongoing “What Helps Me” series, The Mighty is leaning into what sets us apart from other health sites: We aim to provide real health advice from real people who live it. In this spirit, we asked our community for the best insights and tips they’ve developed for managing their conditions. As always, they responded with their unique health stories and we are happy to pass along their well-tested resources to you. Today, we meet Mighty member Haley. She is 27 years old and lives with narcolepsy. Haley, what helps you? THE MIGHTY: What helps you most when your condition affects your physical health? HALEY: It helps me to take a nap — especially during… lunch break at my college. I also take medicine that helps me stay awake, and it’s… for my other [health] condition [too]. The medicine doesn’t always help me stay awake, so I try to get a little rest in when I can. What helps you most when your condition affects your mental health? Naps and meditation help me feel mentally “better,” even though I still feel down at times. [My] type of narcolepsy isn’t taken seriously [in my] family and [friend group]. I go to therapy for my mental health, and the cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) I have to be in for my other conditions [also helps my narcolepsy]. How do you cope when your normal self-care isn’t working? I try to remind myself that it’s OK to need downtime. I [tell myself that I] can’t stop being tired, so I should relax instead. I will [have an easier time] tomorrow if I slow down today. Thank you to Haley for her contributions to our community. Did you find this helpful? Add your gratitude in the comments. If you want to tell us what helps you, you can complete our survey here .

What Helps a Woman in Her Fifties With Rheumatoid Arthritis

With our ongoing “What Helps Me” series, The Mighty is leaning into what sets us apart from other health sites: We aim to provide real health advice from real people who live it. In this spirit, we asked our community for the best insights and tips they’ve developed for managing their conditions. As always, they responded with their unique health stories and we are happy to pass along their well-tested resources to you. Responses have been lightly edited for clarity. Today, we meet Mighty member Betsy. She is 58 years old and lives with rheumatoid arthritis. Betsy, what helps you? THE MIGHTY: What helps you most when your condition affects your physical health? BETSY: Heat, whether from taking a hot shower, using the heating pad, or soaking in the Caribbean waters. What helps you most when your condition affects your mental health? Sitting on the beach and listening to the water helps me. How do you cope when your normal self-care isn’t working? Meditation or prayer, and if that doesn’t work, I can dive into cleaning my house. I pay for it afterwards, but it clears my head. Thank you to Betsy for her contributions to our community. Did you find this helpful? Add your gratitude in the comments. If you want to tell us what helps you, you can complete our survey here .

What Helps a Woman in Her Sixties With Bipolar Disorder

With our ongoing “What Helps Me” series, The Mighty is leaning into what sets us apart from other health sites: We aim to provide real health advice from real people who live it. In this spirit, we asked our community for the best insights and tips they’ve developed for managing their conditions. As always, they responded with their unique health stories and we are happy to pass along their well-tested resources to you. Responses have been lightly edited for clarity. Today, we meet Mighty member Pat. She is 65 years old and lives with bipolar disorder. Pat, what helps you? THE MIGHTY: What helps you most when your condition affects your physical health? PAT: Sleep and exercise both help me. Sleep is the best respite I can get from the struggle of bipolar depression. While I’m asleep, I don’t have depressed thoughts or suicidal thinking. Exercise gets my blood pumping, which helps me too. If I can get out of bed, I put in earbuds and go for a walk. What helps you most when your condition affects your mental health? Mindfulness and meditation are both very helpful to me. They let my thoughts slow down, so I have a higher chance of focusing on something positive. Music is also a huge help to me. Sad music can help me feel “held” and understood — it matches my mood. Happy music can help pull my mood up. It just has to be the right music at the right time. How do you cope when your normal self-care isn’t working? I talk with my therapist. He offers me the ability to email between sessions, and I process feelings better in writing than by talking, so this is a really valuable tool for me. It lessens my feelings of loneliness because I know my therapist is there. This also helps with the kind of mindset that sets in when my symptoms are really severe. I tend to forget all my coping tools, and he will gently remind me of something I can do to cope. Thank you to Pat for her contributions to our community. Did you find this helpful? Add your gratitude in the comments. If you want to tell us what helps you, you can complete our survey here .

What Autistic People Would Tell Themselves When Newly Diagnosed

Getting a new diagnosis can come with a myriad of feelings. Sometimes it’s a lightbulb moment, where so many things finally make sense. Other times it’s just daunting, and instead of providing clarity, you’re only left with more questions. While your new diagnosis isn’t the first part of your journey, it is a monumental part with the power to shift and direct how you live your life going forward. After a new diagnosis, you get to grow a relationship not just with your identity, but also with your condition itself. However, this often isn’t something you realize until typically farther along your journey. We decided to ask The Mighty’s Neurodiverse Crowd, “ If you could tell yourself one thing when you first got diagnosed (self or otherwise) with autism, what would it be?” It wasn’t you, it was them. “ See? You aren’t broken… Your brain is just wired to understand and communicate differently. You will eventually find your people, but you need to find you first, and it’s not being who everyone else thinks you should.” – @Werp “All those things you tried to get your cousins into were special interests, and you were hyperfixated on them. They can’t understand your obsession with them, and that’s why they stopped playing with you. It’s not your fault, and you didn’t do anything wrong. You will always find certain things you are into more than anyone you know, and you should never feel guilty about it.” – @Dreadedkitty Now you can accept yourself fully. “ Congratulations! Now you have permission to quit feeling like a moral miscreant and can quit bowing to the gaslighting by people who claim to know your motives better than you know your own. Now you can focus on things you can change and leave the rest to God. You can quit wallowing in self-reproach and self-loathing. You can have joy!” – @Freee “Woo, you learned not to trust your instincts or needs because others told you not to think or feel or act ‘that’ way. You learned to survive by fitting in but you don’t fit. You weren’t made to fit. Those corners make you square. You’ll lose yourself if you keep trying to cut off your corners and pretend it’s better to be around. Pretending to know what’s going on, what they meant by that, or that you don’t struggle silently…daily. No more silent struggles! You will learn to trust your own inner voice, who knows your own needs way better than any of the loud, opinionated voices that surround you! …And I love you woo!” –  @Woowoo222 Go enjoy those special interests. “‘Ahhh that explains it,’ and, ‘Would you like to hear air traffic control recordings with me.’” – @Fathousewife

What Helps a Woman in Her Thirties With Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

With our ongoing “What Helps Me” series, The Mighty is leaning into what sets us apart from other health sites: We aim to provide real health advice from real people who live it. In this spirit, we asked our community for the best insights and tips they’ve developed for managing their conditions. As always, they responded with their unique health stories and we are happy to pass along their well-tested resources to you. Responses have been lightly edited for clarity. Today, we meet Mighty member Amanda. She is 39 years old and lives with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Amanda, what helps you? THE MIGHTY: What helps you most when your condition affects your physical health? AMANDA: Medication helps control the physical symptoms of my OCD. While on medication, even if I have an anxiety attack, I know it is one. I can go lie down and do some breathing, and I’m OK pretty quickly. I don’t get sick to my stomach as much anymore or have as many body aches or headaches. I go to my doctor at least once a year to make sure I do not need to change my medication type or dosage. I also now get blood work done to check for things that can make my OCD and the anxiety it causes worse. For example, I recently discovered my vitamin B12 and vitamin D levels are low, so I am now taking both. Getting massages as often as I can afford to also helps with the stress obsessive-compulsive disorder puts on my body and makes me more relaxed. Trying to take good care of myself by getting enough sleep, eating more healthily, and exercising also helps. Of course, as a full-time working mom and wife that can be a challenge at times, but it has gotten easier as my daughter has gotten older. I’ve made it a priority so that I can take better care of myself in order to take better care of her and others. What helps you most when your condition affects your mental health? Medication helps me because it stops my constant racing thoughts, and I am better able to control them. Certain exercises — especially yoga — can also help. Writing my thoughts out also helps me, and sometimes I turn it into blogs. I also turned some of my writing into a book. Sometimes it helps me to stay busy while other times, it helps me to get some rest. It also often helps to do something I really enjoy. Sometimes it helps to be around other people, while other times, it helps to have a break from people. Sometimes social media helps while other times, taking a break from it helps. I love to travel too, so traveling is almost always good for my mental health. How do you cope when your normal self-care isn’t working? I’ve gotten frustrated, I’ve cried, and I’ve wanted to give up, but I remember when I didn’t give up before, and I not only made it through, but I eventually became even happier than before. I now keep trying different things until something works. I wait less time to go to the doctor or to try certain medications or treatments that could offer relief. I even try things that make me uncomfortable at first — and not only do they often work, but they often also comfort me. Sometimes you may have to learn to listen to yourself when what others are suggesting is not working for you. Thank you to Amanda for her contributions to our community. Did you find this helpful? Add your gratitude in the comments. If you want to tell us what helps you, you can complete our survey here .

Diet for Crohn’s Disease -- Which Foods Should I Eat or Avoid?

Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It is a chronic, lifelong condition and can be a difficult diagnosis to manage. It affects up to 1.6 million people in the United States. Crohn’s disease is a disease that can cause inflammation anywhere in the digestive tract, from the mouth to the anus. Since the disease affects the digestive tract, people with Crohn’s often experience abdominal pain and frequent stools, especially in periods of time when they have disease flares. The digestive tract includes the small and large intestines, and the small intestine is commonly affected by Crohn’s disease. Diet and nutrition are very important for people with Crohn’s disease because the digestive tract is where nutrients (macronutrients like carbohydrates and protein, and micronutrients like vitamins and minerals) are absorbed into the body. Nutrition plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy body weight without too much weight loss during flares of Crohn’s. It should be optimized during healthy times to ensure a person receives adequate calories, protein, fluid, and vitamins and minerals. What Are the Dietary Concerns for Crohn’s Disease? It is best to check with your doctor and Registered Dietitian before making any big diet changes when you have IBD. There are many nutrition and diet concerns for Crohn’s disease, including: Poor appetite and decreased intake of food and drinks by mouth Weight loss Nutrient deficiencies, especially for Vitamins A, D, E, and K, zinc, calcium, and iron Malabsorption, which means you don’t absorb nutrients from your food well Diarrhea Pain with trigger foods Malnutrition if the diet is not appropriate for the long term or if malabsorption is severe Poor growth in children and adolescents with Crohn’s disease Is There an Ideal Diet Plan or Meal Plan for Crohn’s Disease? In general, a healthy diet appropriate for an average person is good for a person with Crohn’s disease during periods of good health. No evidence-based diet works best for Crohn’s disease, and nutrition plans have to be individualized based on the person. Eating adequate amounts of fiber can help reduce having a flare. The recommendation is 14 grams of fiber per 1000 calories for adults, so a person should eat 28 grams of fiber per day with a 2000-calorie diet. High fiber foods that are good sources of soluble fiber like apples, black beans, if tolerated, oatmeal, barley, carrots, and pears should be used to meet fiber goals ideally. Foods containing probiotics or healthy bacteria may also be beneficial when you are in remission. These foods include yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir. Some people can identify trigger foods to avoid that help them feel less bloated, have less abdominal pain, or have less diarrhea. If you have experienced weight loss from symptoms of Crohn’s disease, it is best to follow a high protein and high-calorie diet with frequent meals and snacks. You should try to eat foods that you know you can tolerate, and you may also be prescribed multivitamin and mineral supplements. Since weight loss is common and people with Crohn’s experience issues absorbing nutrients from food, they are sometimes prescribed oral nutrition supplements. These dietary supplements are special shakes with extra calories, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Dietitians can provide ideas on flavoring oral nutrition supplements or mixing them into shake recipes if you don’t enjoy the taste. Specialized Diets for Crohn’s Disease It is best to check with your medical team before making big diet changes when you have IBD. Sometimes, a doctor or dietitian might recommend these diets: Low Residue is a diet that is low in fiber and might be used if a person has a narrowed part of the intestine. A liquid diet requires that almost all daily calorie and nutrient needs come from oral nutrition supplements to give the intestinal tract a break from digesting solid foods. The FODMAP diet may be useful for people with Crohn’s. This diet focuses on reducing or eliminating foods that are sources of sugars, including fructose, lactose, and sugar alcohols like sorbitol and mannitol. Specific Carbohydrate Diet is a diet that has less evidence that it works and requires strict guidelines that remove all fructose, grains, and lactose from the diet. Foods to Avoid During a Crohn’s Disease Flare Though people with Crohn’s disease can eat a varied diet, and not every person will experience the same trigger foods, some foods should be avoided during a flare of symptoms. A person with Crohn’s disease should keep a food diary with symptoms to help determine if there are specific foods that are causing digestive issues. Common foods that may cause abdominal pain or other tolerance issues include: Dairy products that contain lactose Foods high in insoluble fiber, like fruits with skin and seeds, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower), nuts, beans and lentils, and whole grains Raw fruits and vegetables Spicy foods High-fat foods, like fried foods or foods with a lot of butter or mayonnaise Alcoholic beverages Caffeinated beverages, like energy drinks, black or green teas, or coffee Carbonated beverages such as soda and sparkling water Sugar alcohols like sorbitol or mannitol Life With Crohn’s Disease While any chronic condition can pose many challenges, it’s not impossible to find a functional life forward with Crohn’s disease. By working with your doctor to identify the best path forward, you can learn which foods are best for your situation. Once you find which foods are right for you, you’ll likely feel more in control of your health. Stories From Mighty Members Living With Crohn’s Disease How Diet Plays a Role in Managing My Crohn’s Disease 19 ‘Hacks’ That Can Make Dining Out With Crohn’s Disease Easier 36 Things People With Inflammatory Bowel Disease Wish Others Understood Connect With Others Who Have Crohn’s Disease The Mighty is a community for people who are living with Crohn’s disease and other chronic health conditions. You can read stories from others with similar experiences, join support groups, and even share your own story. IBD and Crohn’s Disease Support Groups Crohn’s & Ulcerative Colitis Support Group Women+ With IBD Crohn’s, IBD, and Chronic Illness Newsletters IBD Digest Chronic and Mighty

How to Help Someone Who Is Having a Panic Attack

Panic attacks are a brief, sudden, and intense rush of panic, fear, or anxiety. They often happen quickly and with little warning beforehand. If someone you know and love has a panic attack, you must know what to do to help them. However, it’s equally important that you know what not to do. Recognizing the Symptoms of a Panic Attack in Someone Else One of the first things you should do to be of any help is to know what a panic attack’s symptoms look like. Here are some things to look out for in someone else: Sweating or chills Rapid breathing Hyperventilating Trembling or shaking Crying These are just the outward, visible symptoms that you and others will notice. Inside, the person having a panic attack is also feeling nausea, abdominal cramping, chest pain, headache, dizziness or lightheadedness, etc. How to Help Someone During an Anxiety Attack Stay calm Remaining calm is the first thing you need to know about how to help someone with an anxiety attack. Anxiety and panic attacks don’t last long, and they’ll be even quicker if you remain calm around someone who’s experiencing one. Make conversation and offer support Trying to get the person talking to you and offering subtle but comforting support is also important. You should tell them that you’re not going to leave them and that you’re there to help. However, never be forceful or aggressive and only touch them comfortingly after asking for permission. Panic attacks often stem from feeling helpless or out of control. Asking for permission is a great way to give them a sense of control. Ask questions and listen intently Asking questions and listening intently to the response is a great way to distract someone with a panic attack. It’s also a great way to let them know that you care about them and are there for them. Grounding Techniques to Help Someone During a Panic Attack Keeping someone grounded and interactive is extremely important for feeling safe and overcoming a panic attack. Here are some of the best ways to help someone with a panic attack. Deep breathing People amid a panic attack often take only shallow, short breaths. Focusing on deep breathing helps them slow down their heart and push away the panic. The 5-4-3-2-1 technique Here’s how the 5-4-3-2-1 technique works. Name five things that you see around you. Focus on four different things that you can feel. Name three things that you can hear around you. Notice two things that you can smell. Focus on one thing that you can taste. Picture someone you love Having someone picture a person they love during a panic attack can relax them. Spelling backward game Have the person you’re helping spell out a few random words backward. This will help to distract them from what’s causing their panic attack. Focus on an object If there’s a unique object in the area, have the person experiencing a panic attack focus on it for distraction. Play a memory game Memory games are also a good way to distract someone from panic attacks. What Not to Do If Someone Has a Panic Attack Knowing what not to do is just as important as knowing what to do. Don’t minimize their feelings. Shaming someone or telling them there’s nothing to be afraid of, is not how to help someone having a panic attack. Their feelings are valid, and it’s your job to provide comfort and support rather than judgment. Don’t give advice. All panic attacks are different because all people are different. Trying to pretend that you know exactly what someone is feeling and giving them advice is the wrong approach to take. Don’t compare their fear to other stressors. Whatever is panicking your friend is a valid fear. Trying to convince them that it isn’t so bad is not a good idea. One Mighty member who experiences panic attacks, Aimee M., put together this list of things she has personally found least helpful to hear during a panic attack. When to Seek Additional Help The human spirit is strong and resilient, and we often try to fight through panic attacks on our own. However, it’s important to know when to seek additional help. If your loved one’s symptoms persist or chest pain moves to their arm or shoulders and feels more like squeezing, you should reach out to medical professionals. You might seek additional support like cognitive behavioral therapy if your family member or friend regularly has anxiety attacks. Stories From Mighty Members About Panic Attacks 28 Things People Don’t Realize You’re Doing Because You’re Having a Hidden Panic Attack — Not all panic attacks have obvious, outward signs. Some of them are only noticeable by paying close attention to your loved ones. 16 Things to Put in Your Panic Attack ‘Crisis Kit’ — This article offers some tips and tricks about objects and food to have nearby in case you feel a panic attack coming on. 19 Songs That Have Helped People Get Through Panic Attacks — Just like food and comforting memories can help you overcome a panic attack, here are some songs that might help as well. How a ‘Safe Word’ Can Help When You’re Overwhelmed With Anxiety — Having a “safe word” is sometimes enough to help someone feel grounded during a panic attack. Connect With Others Who Have Panic Attacks The Mighty is a community for people who are living with panic attacks and other mental health conditions, as well as those who support them through their struggles. You can read stories from others with similar experiences, join support groups, and even share your own story. Anxiety and Panic Attack Support Groups Let’s Talk Anxiety Conquer Your Mind Mental Health Newsletters Mental Health Matters Check in With Me

How Long Does PTSD Last?

PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is a mental health condition triggered by a traumatic event or events. The effects of PTSD can be long-term or go away within several weeks or months. It’s important to know that PTSD is a very serious mental illness, and the causes and effects vary from person to person. Factors That Can Affect How Long PTSD Lasts Post-traumatic stress disorder is triggered by a traumatic or highly stressful event, series of events, and/or long-term trauma. It’s most common among survivors of sexual assault, military veterans, people who have been in an accident, or who survived other traumatic experiences. One of the reasons it’s difficult to put a timetable on how long PTSD will last is that it affects everyone differently. People also respond very differently to PTSD based on what caused it initially and how they’re wired as a person. Here are some of the trauma-related factors that can impact the length of PTSD. If you experienced a single traumatic event or multiple ones Was the trauma accidental, or did someone do something to you intentionally? The type of trauma you experienced If other mental health problems accompany your PTSD PTSD Symptoms and Signs Many different signs and symptoms can accompany PTSD. Symptoms can start within several weeks or a month of your traumatic experience, or they might not manifest for several years. For your condition to be classified as PTSD, they have to last for more than a month and be severe enough to burden your relationships, work life, or personal life. Here are the four types of symptoms that accompany PTSD. Intrusive or burdensome memories Intrusive memories are when you have clear and unwanted thoughts and feelings about the traumatic event you experienced. These memories occur often and can make you extremely scared, depressed, and anxious. You can also relive your traumatic experience through dreams or flashbacks. These memories can happen randomly, but they’re often triggered by things you notice or experience throughout your day. They might have nothing to do with what happened to you, but something about them reminds you of your traumatic events or event. Withdrawal Withdrawal included avoiding people, things, places, or events that could trigger your experience. For example, if the source of your PTSD was being trapped at sea, you might refuse to go to the beach, sail on a boat, or even go to an aquarium for fear that you’ll see or feel something that takes you back to that terrible moment in your life. Depression or mood changes If your PTSD gets bad enough, you’ll start to go through dark mood changes and periods of depression. You may feel hopeless about the future, detached from your friends and family, emotionally numb, and come to hate things you once loved. You might even start to have suicidal thoughts or turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to block out the painful memories. Physical and emotional symptoms People around you may notice that you are jumpy or easily startled by things. You’ll likely also have trouble sleeping, eating, appetite changes, or have unexpected outbursts of rage. Although PTSD is considered a mental disorder, it affects every part of you and the people you love. Causes of PTSD and Risk Factors While the cause of PTSD is almost always related to a traumatic event, experience, or a series of them, certain risk factors put people more at risk than others. This includes combat veterans, children, and people who have been through a physical or sexual assault, abuse, accident, disaster, or other serious events. Here are some of the risk factors associated with PTSD: Women are more likely to get PTSD than men. A family history of PTSD or mental illness puts you at higher risk. Having a high-stress or dangerous job puts you at more risk of experiencing a traumatic event. Having other mental health problems also puts you at higher risk. Not having a good support system makes it harder to deal with a traumatic experience. It’s important to note that not every single case of PTSD is because of a traumatic event related to danger. You can get it after the death of a loved one or if someone you care about experiences danger. It’s estimated that seven or eight out of every 100 people will experience PTSD at one point or another. PTSD Treatment The most common forms of treatment for PTSD include medications and psychotherapy. However, because the condition affects everyone differently and people have various responses to treatments, it’s crucial to find help from a professional who is willing to work with you. Regardless of what type of treatment you prefer, you must seek help from a mental health professional. Talking to friends and family is a good start, but most cases of PTSD require the help of a doctor. Living With PTSD While receiving medical treatment can help with PTSD, there’s no actual cure for it. However, with the right combination of medications and therapy, you can learn to live with PTSD and not have it interfere with your everyday life. The amount of time this takes will depend on you and the type of event you experienced. Your PTSD symptoms should get less severe or may disappear altogether with proper care and treatment. If you’re experiencing PTSD symptoms, it’s important to reach out to a healthcare provider for support and to learn about the right treatment options for your situation. Stories From People Living With PTSD What It Means to ‘Live With’ PTSD 23 ‘Embarrassing’ Symptoms of PTSD We Don’t Talk About The Monkey Metaphor I Use to Describe My PTSD What My PTSD and a Soggy Chicken Wrap Have in Common The Most Important Advice I Can Give to Someone Struggling With PTSD Connect With Others Who Have PTSD The Mighty is a community for people like you who are living with PTSD and other mental health conditions. You can read stories from others with similar experiences, join support groups for your condition, and even share your own story. PTSD Support Groups PTSD Support – A Private Community Life With C-PTSD Childhood Trauma Survivors Mental Health Newsletters Mental Health Matters Trauma Survivors

Adenomyosis vs. Endometriosis: What's the Difference?

Adenomyosis and endometriosis are conditions stemming from the endometrial tissue of the uterus. While they both come from the same source and manifest in similar ways, they are very different conditions. The main difference between the two diseases is that endometriosis affects organs and muscles outside of the uterus, while adenomyosis affects the inner walls of the uterus itself. However, both can certainly have a considerable impact on your overall health, especially on your ability to have children. How common is adenomyosis or endometriosis? Unfortunately, both conditions are fairly common and sometimes hard to detect. Adenomyosis, especially, is a bit of a problem for disease detection. While it’s estimated that between 20 and 65 percent of women and people assigned female at birth will have adenomyosis at some point in their lives, the symptoms are sometimes so mild that the condition goes unnoticed. On the other hand, endometriosis isn’t quite as common, but it’s a more well-known condition. Around 5 to 10 percent of women and those assigned female at birth who are of childbearing age will develop endometriosis. What are the symptoms of adenomyosis and endometriosis? Adenomyosis symptoms One of the main features of adenomyosis is that the uterine walls get bigger and thicker, thanks to the invading endometrial cells. You may experience these symptoms: Heavy and painful periods Chronic pelvic pain Infertility Pain during intercourse An enlarged uterus Endometriosis symptoms With endometriosis, endometrial cells travel outside the uterus and affect the surrounding tissue. The symptoms you may experience include: Pain during bowel movements or urination Pain during intercourse Painful periods Pelvic and belly pain Nausea Vomiting Diarrhea Fatigue How they are similar The conditions are sometimes confused because they cause pain and discomfort, primarily during your period, intercourse, or bowel movements. How they are different The main difference between the two is that symptoms tend to be more severe and prolonged with endometriosis. You’ll also experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fatigue more often with endometriosis than with adenomyosis. What are the risk factors for developing adenomyosis or endometriosis? Adenomyosis risk factors The most distinguishing risk factors for adenomyosis are if you’re over the age of 40 and have had more than one child. It’s fairly rare that people under 40 develop adenomyosis, as they’re more likely to develop endometriosis. Additional risk factors for adenomyosis include: if you had your first period before the age of 10, if your menstrual cycles last for 24 days or fewer, or if you’ve had surgery performed on your uterus. Endometriosis risk factors Where adenomyosis typically affects those over the age of 40, endometriosis starts in those under 40. You’re also more likely to get endometriosis if someone in your family has had it before. Additional risk factors include heavy periods that last longer than a week, if your periods start fewer than 27 days apart, and if you had your first period before the age of 11. How do doctors tell the difference when diagnosing? Telling the difference between adenomyosis and endometriosis is confusing for everyday people, and even doctors struggle at times. Here is what you can expect for the diagnosis process: Adenomyosis diagnosis The main difference between the two conditions is the parts of the body they affect. With adenomyosis, your uterus will be enlarged, so your doctor will perform a physical to determine if it’s swollen or tender. Transvaginal ultrasounds or MRIs can also be useful in diagnosing adenomyosis. Endometriosis diagnosis Through a combination of your medical history, a sonogram, and an MRI, your doctor may come to suspect endometriosis. However, the only way to know for sure is with exploratory surgery or a transvaginal ultrasound. How does treatment differ between adenomyosis and endometriosis? Adenomyosis treatment Minor cases of adenomyosis are treated with medication and symptom management. For more severe cases, a hysterectomy might be necessary. Endometriosis treatment Endometriosis doesn’t have a known cure. Treatment options to keep the symptoms and condition at bay typically include anti-inflammatory medications and hormonal treatments. Hysterectomy may improve endometriosis symptoms for some individuals. Is the prognosis different between adenomyosis and endometriosis? Adenomyosis prognosis While the symptoms of adenomyosis are painful and can disrupt your life, the overall prognosis is generally good. Hormonal treatments, medications, and surgeries are available to those living with this condition. Symptoms also usually become less severe after menopause. Endometriosis prognosis The prognosis for endometriosis is generally good, even though there isn’t a known cure. Endometriosis, while painful and detrimental, isn’t typically a life-threatening condition. New treatments and research are being performed constantly to minimize the symptoms and reduce the risk to tissue surrounding the uterus. If you’re struggling with either of these conditions, know that you aren’t alone. Many people around the world are experiencing the same challenges as you. Reach out to your doctor to learn more about treatment options and any support groups that may be helpful. Stories from Mighty members about endometriosis and adenomyosis 5 Things You’ll Understand If You Have Endometriosis — This story is a brave, first-hand account of what it’s like to live with endometriosis. 5 Reasons Endometriosis Can Be Embarrassing — If you’re embarrassed by the symptoms caused by endometriosis, this story will offer some hope and encouragement. To the Person With Endometriosis Who Just Decided to Get a Hysterectomy — This story offers support to those deciding whether to get a hysterectomy. Regardless of which way you’re leaning, this story can give you clarity and encouragement. Connect With Others Who Have Endometriosis The Mighty is a community for people who are living with endometriosis, adenomyosis, and other health conditions, as well as those who support them through their struggles. You can read stories from others with similar experiences, join support groups, and even share your own story. Endometriosis Support Groups Endometriosis Support Infertility in Focus