My endometriosis story began at the age of 11 when my periods started. I would bleed for 2-3 weeks, with one week break. This cycle was continuous and very tiring. I was put on the pill to try to regulate my cycle; different oral forms were tried with little improvement.
My periods were very painful and heavy, it wasn’t easy dealing with this at such a young age. Later on in my teenage years I was transferred onto the depo injection which seemed to help my symptoms, but things still clearly weren’t ‘normal’. I went back and forth to the doctors but was just told it was ‘one of those things” and I was unfortunately ‘one of those girls’ who would suffer excessively painful and long periods with erratic cycles.
It was when I hit my 20s that the pain between my periods was increasing and the effects of excessive bloating and feeling nauseous were getting much worse. I also upsettingly suffered a miscarriage, which I still carry the sadness of to this day. However, it was as a result of this and a combination of my medical history that I was advised to seek treatment, so there is always a silver lining even in the darkest of moments.
Taking myself back to the doctors I was told my symptoms were a result of an infection and put on 3 courses of antibiotics, which improved nothing. Eventually after months of pestering I was referred to a gynae specialist. After many scans and tests they confirmed I had severe endometriosis. I was advised to have a hysterectomy, without it, I was told that my symptoms would get increasingly worse and would only lead to a poor quality of life. This was a huge shock and of massive upset to hear. I was only in my early twenties at the time and knew this wasn’t the right thing for me.
I had a laparoscopy which definitively diagnosed my Endometriosis. This is a procedure in which a camera and laser are inserted through the abdomen area. The laser is used to remove as much of the Endo lesions as possible. The operation confirmed I had many lesions on my ovaries and other organs in my system.
I think the medical profession are amazing, I cannot knock them for all they have done and continue to do for me. But for me I needed to find something that worked alongside the medical treatments. So I looked to a more natural way of dealing with my endometriosis. I needed to take some control back over my body.
This was the turning point for me, when I threw myself into my fitness and nutrition. I turned into a book worm researching healing foods and supplements. I used myself as a guinea pig, cutting out foods that were reported to irritate endometriosis and trying out more calming foods. The more and more I got myself into this, the more it amazed me. What we put into our bodies on a daily basis really can make a huge impact!
I took my love for health and fitness to the next level and entered myself into a bodybuilding competition. I have always been a very active girl, dancing since the age of two, competing in all the sports teams at school and for the county in netball. But this was another level, even for me! I completely u-hauled my diet, removing virtually all sugars and processed foods. I began to eat plenty of vegetables, fish and healthy carbohydrates and healthy fats. As my body fat began to drop, my symptoms lessened. The combination of a healthy, low-sugar diet and daily exercise of weights and cardio was really paying off. Through my research I discovered that fat cells produce extra oestrogen which feeds endometriosis, so the less we carry the more we can help this condition. Saying this, we don’t want to drop to an unhealthy body fat as this can put strain on our systems.
Four months on, I entered my fist competition and won! This led to 3 years of competing and loving the sport. I now have the title of WBFF Pro, a dream come true to compete as a professional in a sport I love. Competing on the world stage in Vegas against all the other Pros from around the world was a truly emotional experience. I felt so lucky to be up there and proud of my body to be strong enough to allow me to go through that journey. I definitely don’t advise dropping body fat to this level and pushing the body to the extreme, this was my journey and something I needed to do for me! I very much now sit at a healthy body weight and have a balanced level of exercise and relaxation!
Now don’t get me wrong, this hasn’t been a breeze! I still very much suffer with the debilitating effects of this condition. There are still days where it will hit me and I will feel so ill that I struggle with the simplest of everyday tasks. Anyone who suffers with Endometriosis in this way will know how this feels and the impact it can also have on your mental health, relationships and career. The only way I can describe it is like having a combination of flu, a sickness bug and a hangover! This comes and goes for reasons I still cannot always put my finger on, but I’m working on it!
I hope that by sharing my story other Endometriosis sufferers and their families can find comfort in knowing they are not alone and a full, happy life can be had. A positive mindset and a healthy lifestyle really has helped me to achieve many dreams and goals that I once thought would not be impossible.
I still hope one day to conceive, there are so many success stories out there which fill me with happiness and optimism. Our bodies are incredible, they want to heal, they want to repair, our job is to give them the best chance we can!
Much Love and Health,