For Bec Hansen, a photographer from Brisbane, Australia, being diagnosed with Endometriosis didn’t quite come as a surprise — but that doesn’t mean it didn’t sideline her life.
For years, Bec believes her symptoms were masked by her use of contraceptive pills. It wasn’t until she stopped taking them that she noticed her periods becoming gradually more painful. “At first, it was manageable,” she said, “But then it began to get so bad I wasn’t able to stand up properly. I remember my worst period was the day I was working at my casual job at a juice bar and I actually had to lock the doors and close the shop because I wasn’t able to get off the floor to serve anyone. The pain came on so fast too; one minute I was serving customers and making smoothies and the next I was lying on the floor crying from the pain.”
Bec’s symptoms matched perfectly to Endometriosis, which her mother also has. At 22-years-old, she was diagnosed with stage 4-5.
“When I went to get my first scan, the gynecologist was shocked at how large the growth was and that I hadn’t reported my pain sooner,” she said. With the help of her doctors, Bec is living with Endo and staying on top of her treatments. However, she wants other women to know that this type of intense pain isn’t normal, and it’s not something they need to suffer through forever.
“People don’t realize [that Endo can] present itself as extremely painful periods. So many women experience painful periods and think it’s normal but it’s not. If your period is so painful that it is affecting your quality of life, that is not normal and something is probably wrong. Even if it’s not Endo, there are a lot of different things that could be causing this and painful periods should not just be accepted as normal when they’re not,” she said.
Going forward, Bec hopes to use her platform online to help educate people about Endo, so that more women can recognize the symptoms early on and get help. “I want people to know how common it is and that there is so much support out there. I have an Instagram account where I have talked quite a bit about Endo before and have always been flooded with questions about it so I want to continue bringing it into discussion so people can continue to learn more and more about it,” she said.
Right now, Bec is continuing to pursue a career in photography, and is building her following through her beautiful work and honesty.