Endometriosis Awareness Month with Sarah Victoria
You may or may not know that this month is Endometriosis Awareness Month. This condition affects one in 10 women causing tissue similar to the lining of the womb to grow elsewhere inside the body, yet it takes most women years to be diagnosed.
Endo-prenueur Sarah Victoria is an advocate raising awareness for Endometriosis and women's health via her Instagram @thefannydiaries. We are thrilled that Sarah joins us to speak all things Endometriosis and her experiences with the condition.
When I was growing up periods were such huge taboo subject, they were never discussed. I learnt at school that it was normal to suffer with painful periods, it was just part of being a women. Because of this, at 16 years old, shame and embarrassment prevented me from seeing a doctor when I first noticed symptoms. 12 years later I was diagnosed with Endometriosis.
Endometriosis is an all over body disease where endometrium like cells grow outside the uterine cavity. It is the second most common gynaecological condition which affects 1 in 10 others and 176 million worldwide, yet it is so underfunded and barely heard of. Some of the common symptoms of Endometriosis include pelvic pain, painful and heavy periods, irregular periods, fatigue and bloating.
It can affect all aspects of your life such as fertility, work, relationships and friendships. I would often have to cancel plans last minute due to a sudden flare up of pain and people would think that I was lying. It takes approximately 7.5 years to diagnose. It took me 12. I have had every single bowel and diet test going and a camera up every orifice multiple time, lucky me. I was constantly told that the pain is not real, to just have a baby or that hormone contraception will cure me, the sad thing is there is no cure.
It was a long exhausting battle, but I managed to get sent for an ultrasound which returned 3 pages of abnormalities. From there I was finally referred to a gynaecologist. Long story short I would have had more success calling up my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. I was told there was absolutely nothing wrong, that I was extremely low risk of everything due to being under the age of 40 and to just take hormone contraception. My one piece of advice to anyone who is currently having a hard time being believed is to always trust yourself, you know your own body, you know when something is wrong. If I'd have taken the advice of that Gynaecologist and not trusted myself, I would more than likely be writing this without my left ovary.
This left me no other choice but to go down the extremely expensive private route where I met with my Gynaecologist who wanted to investigate who wanted to investigate through diagnostic laparoscopy surgery. During my surgery an extensive amount of Endometriosis was found growing on the outside of my left ovary with big adhesions growing on my bowel pulling it down. I'm now undergoing tests to see if it has grown through my bowel, what a shit situation, literally.
I cried with happiness when I was told that they had found something wrong. A diagnosis meant my pain was real and justified. 12 years of being told that something is in your head when in fact it's not has a detrimental impact on you mentally. During my surgery, if nothing was found my ovaries would have been shut down and my body put into a forced menopausal state.
Endometriosis is a lonely and isolating condition with absolutely no support, but enough of the negative. I don't want to be responsible for you cheeky readers unsubscribing. I turned a negative into a great big positive and created The Fanny Diaries, a website and blog talking about all things Endometriosis and Women's Health where I encourage everyone to Fight for their Fanny's. I hope to help change the gender pain gap one fanny at a time.
To anyone out there who is currently experiencing symptoms and being fobbed off, do not give up. You are fabulous, keep going and don't stop until you have answers. To anyone who thinks they may have Endometriosis or is noticing pain, please go and see your doctor, do not put it off like I once did. And to anyone who has been newly diagnosed with Endometriosis I am sorry, it's not easy but you are not alone.
Keep going, keep fighting for your Fanny, because my darlings, your fanny deserves the most incredible pain free life and so do you.
Thank you, Cheeky Wipes & Cheeky Pants, for allowing me to share my story and raise awareness about Endometriosis, I'm forever grateful. If you haven't already treated yourself to a pair of Cheeky Pants, you need to do so ASAP! They are ultimate bad ass game changers.
Lots of fanny fighting love,
A huge thank-you to Sarah for this article. Please follow her @thefannydiaries and visit her website The Fanny Diaries. If you are affected by anything in this article you can find help at the NHS website or Endometriosis UK. Or please contact your Doctor if you are concerned.