A YOUNG mum has been forced to induce the menopause rather than live with the agony of endometriosis.
Jessica Brady would wake up in early hours of the morning in unbearable pain because of her endometriosis.
The 26-year-old has instead now opted for hot flushes and weight gain in order to stop the debilitating symptoms.
Around one in ten women in the UK are affected by endometriosis, a condition which causes tissue similar to the lining of the womb to grow in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes.
The mum-of-two who lives in County Durham said she had been experiencing pain resembling labour contractions every month due to the condition.
The nursery nurse, who is mum to Ellie, eight, and Mason, four, now gets a Prostap injection every three months.
This lessens her symptoms but also induces the menopause.
Jessica said that shutting her ovaries off was scary, but was her “only option”.
She said: "I am very grateful to have a daughter and son, although I was very young, as that could possibly have been my only chance of having children.
"I chose to have injections as a hysterectomy isn't reversible. People have said it's the best thing they ever.”
Jessica said the endometriosis had been growing on her bladder, but that she wanted to try other treatments before she had it removed.
She added: "I have suffered from lots of symptoms of menopause such as hot flushes and weight gain, but it got to a point before where I was depressed, nobody was listening to me.
“It is a relief to now know what is going on.
“When I have a flare up I can actually tell people what it is.”
Jessica started to take the injections in December and said she had her second earlier this month.
She said that as part of her diagnosis she is able to talk to other women about her story as “they understand the pain”.
Jessica has suffered from the illness for around three years and since the age of 23, says she has been in and out of hospital with the pain.
She added: "I knew something wasn't right as the pain I was experiencing was like I was having labour contractions every single month.
"I would wake my partner up in the early hours of the morning due to the pain and he has had me pass out on him many times because I couldn't handle it."
In January 2020, she could no longer cope with the everyday struggle and was referred to a gynaecologist.
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a chronic condition which occurs when tissue from the lining of the womb is found outside of the womb – in areas of the body including the ovaries, Fallopian tubes, the abdomen and the bladder.
So what causes the condition that so many women suffers from?
The exact cause of the condition isn't known, but it's thought it could be hereditary or due to environmental factors – namely the presence of dioxins in the environment.
Meanwhile, other experts believe it could be caused by a process called retrograde menstruation, which is when the womb lining flows backwards through the Fallopian tubes into the abdomen, instead of leaving the body as a period.
Endometriosis can sometimes cause damage to the Fallopian tubes or ovaries, leading to fertility problems.
Other complications can include painful ovarian cysts and adhesions – areas of tissue which can fuse organs together.
It was then she said she understood what endometriosis was.
In September 2020 Jessica had to have a laparoscopy in order to get a diagnosis.
Doctors found she did have endometriosis and it was cut away from her right ovary and bladder.
Sadly in November 2020 Jessica's symptoms came back and she made the decision in December to induce menopause in a bid to relieve the pain.
This month is Endometriosis Awareness Month and to mark it, Jessica is cycling for 30 minutes every day during March to raise awareness and funds for Endometriosis UK.
The charity provides support services and information for those affected by the condition.
According to the charity it takes, on average, 7.5 years for women to get diagnosed with endometriosis.
Jessics is urging women who have symptoms to continue to push for a diagnosis.
"Only you know your body and if you feel the answers you are getting are not making you any better, then keep fighting.
"If you have any of the symptoms, keep going back to the doctors, keep telling them what you are experiencing, even if that means keeping a log of the times it is happening”, she said.
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