Spotlight on... Endometriosis

Hi I’m Gem, I own The Well Woman Project, I’m writing this piece to hopefully shed some light on a plight that affects the whole population - 50% actually have the physical condition and 50% have to watch a loved one go though it.

What am I talking about? Endometriosis a real bitch of a chronic health condition that effects 1 in 4 women – that’s about 200 million women world wide THAT WE KNOW OF. I highlight that because it takes on average 8 years to get a diagnosis because we have some warped idea that periods are meant to be hell on earth every month. So the number of women with this condition is bound to be much higher.

Women who have it have more oestrogen than their body can cope with, this comes from our food, our environment, our household and personal products and stress/lifestyle factors. Sanitary products being one of the biggest changes we can make for ourselves, brands like Always and Tampax are loaded with shitty toxins that our poor vaginas just don’t need. If I asked you to stuff 4 bleach covered carrier bags up your vag to stem the bleeding you might look at me – rightly so – that I had lost my mind. Yet those products have exactly those ingredients in them, come on ladies you must recognise how awful it feels to have a sweaty nasty plastic covered pad in your pants – bleugh! I changed over to reusables and I have never looked back, plus you are helping the planet win win.

Without risking sounding like your mother here we are really trying to burn the candle with both ends as women. We are reluctant to find the middle ground where we can have some much needed respite. In fact I find I get the most eyeball raises when I mention this need to paring back the most. It’s a fear of if we stop things will fall apart, let me tell you this for free, you will fall apart much sooner than everything else. It’s essential that you are healthy to be able to function at doing all the other demands on us, we know this, I’m not telling you anything new and yet it’s still one of the hardest things to implement for most women.

I’m personally a spoonie, you see it zaps your energy quite a lot so you have to spend your spoons wisely – it’s a big thing on insta! It took 10 years for my diagnosis being told that doubling over in pain and having tsunami bleeds every month was normal. I was misdiagnosed with kidney stones, which actually turned out to be a melon size cyst on my ovary, I needed a laparoscopy to have it removed as it was doing the twist in there which hurt like a fucker. Whilst I was inflated into a balloon they identified the lesions just to add to the mix they also found a fibroid and adenomyosis (this is the lesser known cousin it’s just like endo but is on the inside of the womb). A right little shit fest you could say.

I was advised to have high doses of hormones or have a hysterectomy because I didn’t want children anyway – a whole other story but suffice to say our beautiful wombs are blinding at making and growing babies but it isn’t their only job. Just removing parts of your body doesn’t always fix the problem, Endo is found around the uterus in the pelvic space so taking the womb away is creating more space – you get my drift right?!

There isn’t a cure for this condition in terms of what a doctor will tell you, but having been my own guinea pig I can tell you that putting it into remission is a really great place to be.  It’s not a silver bullet approach it’s a whole lifestyle shift, but it works and I’ve helped other women find their place they want to be.  We are all different!

It changed my whole life being told I have this condition, you might not believe me that I think it’s had a positive effect but I really see it that way, I’m making a difference to women who have lost all hope of finding any alternatives to the big scary options of drugs and more surgery. It’s made me a healthier person, which is most bizarre when you think about it isn’t it?

I get annoyed at how Endometriosis is handled, I get even more fucked off with how periods are portrayed the media being a massive pain in the vag for this.  Continuing to spin out the same old story that you don’t need to stop during your period and actually go put on your favourite white jeans that you save especially for your periods. This isn’t real, it’s a load of old bollocks, but when schools are still teaching girls to be discreet about asking to use the toilet or get sanitary products out of their bags, it makes you realise we aren’t any further on than we were 50 years ago. I’m not suggesting that we have to announce it to the class or work place but we have to get over the fact if we hand a tampon to a doctor thinking it was a pen the world isn’t going to implode. True story 

So if you want to know more about what I do other than swearing a lot and wanging on I would love to talk to you. You can drop me a line on gemma@thewellwomanproject or hook me up on Insta or Facebook.

Seriously we don’t have to suffer in isolation or silence the well woman project is for you to make you the well woman you long to be.

Big Love G xx

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Gemma Barry

Gemma is founder of the Well Woman Project. After working as a nurse for 15 years in busy London hospitals, Gemma became disillusioned and knew that there had to be another way to maintain health. She now works supporting women with Endometriosis and painful periods using natural remedies and treatments. Her wide range of services include Mizan therapy, reflexology & massage, and she’s an enthusiastic herbalist.