An Island woman is campaigning to raise awareness and funds during Endometriosis Awareness Month.
Georgia Day struggled with debilitating pelvic pain and stomach issues for two years, often so sever she was bed-ridden. Researching her symptoms on the internet led her to believe that she suffered from endometriosis, which affects up to 10 per cent of women of all ages. Tissue, similar to the lining of the womb, starts to grow in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes. Attempts to get doctors to take her suspicions seriously failed, and she was left to manage multiple trips to A&E and pain so severe that she began to suffer from mental health issues. Eventually, in October 2019, Georgia found a specialist who was willing to put her on a waiting list for keyhole surgery, the only way the condition can be accurately diagnosed. The next month her parents decided they could no longer watch her struggle in so much pain, and the family took the difficult decision to spend £3,500 for a private operation.
Waking up after the operation she remembers feeling elated that the condition had finally been diagnosed and treated and relief that she would still be able to have children, despite the fact that she now had to deal with the knowledge that she has an incurable chronic illness.
Georgia knows that in some ways she was fortunate. For some women it takes up to ten years to get a diagnosis, leaving many infertile. She also realised that not all women would have taken on the many medical professionals who had dismissed her concerns or would have the resources available to get treated quickly once a diagnosis had been made.
Deciding to turn the anger and frustration of being dismissed by doctors into something positive, Georgia vowed to fight for other women to get the condition recognised and treated early. The only effective treatment is cutting or burning off the excess tissue, which can grow back, with women often needing multiple surgeries. The condition is linked to women’s periods and they are often told that its just bad periods.
As a sufferer herself, Georgia questions why there is still a taboo around talking openly about women’s health issues, and they are often seen as ‘icky’. She said: “The online endometriosis community is amazing and so supportive. With my local support group a lot of people message me with concerns about their symptoms and I direct them to the appropriate professionals. Unfortunately, on the Isle of Wight we don’t have endometriosis specialists and I am supporting many women who are struggling to be taken seriously.”
Georgia now runs a support group for Islanders with the condition and an Instagram account sharing her experiences @endogirl89. This month she has organised The Yellow Raffle IW with prizes from Island businesses. Yellow is the awareness colour for endometriosis.