HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Endometriosis is a disorder that affects more than 200 million women per year worldwide and one in ten women in the United States.

“When a woman has her period those endometrial cells that you would shed during your monthly period they would grow outside the uterus like places on the abdomen and the pelvis,” said Doctor Gerald Harkins, an ObGyn at UPMC in Central Pa.

A Midstate woman with the disorder, Princess Young, started symptoms at 29 years old during a run in August 2011.

“The only way I can describe it is I felt like had a knife between my ribs all the time,” said Young.

She struggled with extreme pain in her right side, doctors she saw thought it was a gallbladder issue because her symptoms didn’t correlate directly with endometriosis.

She was meeting with a surgeon to remove her gallbladder when she mentioned that the pain correlated with her cycle, she was referred to Dr. Harkins at UPMC, who suspected and diagnosed her with the correct disorder.

“I am very lucky that I ended up with a surgeon who listened, who knew what to listen for, my journey could have been very different,” said Young.

Four surgeries later, a hysterectomy and removal of her ovaries, Young still deals with her diagnoses day to day but what’s changed is her outlook and purpose. 

She will be speaking at the 2023 UPMC-Magee Women’s Endometriosis Conference at Penn Harris Hotel, Camp Hill this month.