Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: standing in a doorway
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I had mystery belly aches that started when I was a small child. My mom did take them seriously, but never found a doctor who would. It was usually blamed on my parents getting divorced, problems at school, or some sort of psychological problem wrong with my head. I was sent to psychologists instead of getting real help, who always told me I needed to stop pretending my belly hurt. This combined to convince me that maybe it was all in my head, so I learned to not tell anyone when I was in pain because 1) they would never believe me anyway and 2) because if it was all in my head I should have been able to make the pain go away. I never was able to make the pain go away, so I figured there must have been something bad wrong in my head. I got mixed up with drugs in high school, as an attempt to self-medicate....
Shortly after my 30th birthday, I finally decided that my own head would not, could not possibly cause me to be in so much pain and I finally found a doctor who took it seriously (oddly enough, it was also the first doc I sought after marrying DH and getting on his health insurance. Before that, I had *never* had any sort of insurance.) and I was diagnosed with very severe, what they call "stage IV" endometriosis through laparoscopic surgery.
If it were my DD complaining of a belly ache, I'd start keeping track of when she has them (see if there's a pattern or cycle to it), and what else might be going on at the time like stressful events, maybe even see if there are some food triggers while you're at it. I'd document it really well, and take her *very* seriously. Endo often runs in families, so if anyone in your immediate family has it, keep that in mind. If, when her periods start, she has severe cramping, do whatever it takes to find a doctor who will take her pain seriously. The more we are exposed to certain environmental toxins like dioxin, in particular, the more likely it is that our children will develop autoimmune disorders like endometriosis at very young ages. Sometimes there is a genetic disposition for people to be extra sensitive to those same toxins, so even if nobody has endo in your family, consider it a possibility. I am the only female in my family with endo, but my father and my uncle and many other family members have other toxin-related auto-immune disorders.