A Brisbane mother who struggled to fall pregnant for years is urging other women not to dismiss painful periods or back pain and to seek medical advice.
Mt Gravatt East mum Katie Callipolitis, 33, was finally diagnosed with endometriosis after ignoring persistent migraines, back pain and other issues since adolescence.
“My digestive system was out of whack, I had lots of pain in my leg and hip, and a lot of migraines,” Ms Callipolitis said.
“I dismissed all of the common endometriosis symptoms and believed pain was normal for periods.”
Infertility is a common side-effect of endometriosis; however, Ms Callipolitis became pregnant soon after having surgery for endometriosis at Mater Hospital Brisbane.
“Evy is now one month old,” she said. “She is my miracle baby.
“I would never have been so lucky if I hadn’t had surgical intervention.”
Ms Callipolitis said the month of March — Endometriosis Awareness Month — was an ideal time to share her story and urge other women not to dismiss severe pain as a normal part of their monthly cycle.
Endometriosis occurs when the lining of the uterus grows in other areas of the body, such as the abdominal cavity, forming blood-filled cysts and scar tissue.
Mater Hospital Brisbane gynaecologist Dr Tal Jacobson said there had been an increase in women diagnosed with the disease in recent years.
“Traditionally, it could take up to 12 years to be diagnosed,” Dr Jacobson said. “However, more doctors and gynaecologists are educated about the disease and recognising symptoms earlier. Women suffering with symptoms are also more likely to be aware of endometriosis and seek help sooner.”
According to Endometriosis Australia, the disorder affects one in nine women with more than 830 000 women living with endometriosis in Australia.
Ms Callipolitis said it was after she was rushed to the Emergency Department with a burst ovarian cyst that she decided to have the surgery.
“I wish I had paid attention to the symptoms so I could have been diagnosed earlier,” she said.
“Delaying a doctor’s appointment or ignoring the warning signs could mean delaying your chances of having a baby.”
Mater provides expert maternity care to mums and babies across Brisbane and throughout regional Queensland.
 Endometriosis Australia | Research
Six common signs of endometriosis
- heavy periods
- painful sex
- pain opening bowels
- lower back pain