Ballymahon’s Hannah Thompson has been living with Endometriosis for ten years and suffers pain every day as a result
Women have been celebrated in all their glory this month with events taking place virtually all over the world for International women’s Day on March 8. But, while celebrating the achievements of women is important, the month of March also aims to raise awareness for the challenges that women face every day.
This month brings women, families and medical communities together for Endometriosis Awareness Month, raising awareness of a condition that affects 176 million women around the globe, or approximately one in ten.
The condition sees tissue similar to the lining of the womb start to grow in other parts of the body such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes, and can even spread to the bladder and the bowel.
“Endometriosis tissue grows like cancer tissue, spreading throughout the body, but does not kill, just damages the organs it ends up reaching,” said Ballymahon native, Hannah Thompson (25), who is one of those women who struggles with the condition on a daily basis.
“It can cause depression, extreme fatigue, infertility and can eventually start to fuse the organs together.”
Hannah has been living with endometriosis for nearly ten years now and suffers severe pain every day with no painkiller or medication successfully providing relief.
“I went to the doctor with my pain and was told it was just bad periods,” she explained.
“I finally got diagnosed in March 2018 by laparoscopy, which is keyhole surgery through the belly button and a camera put down. This was after three years fighting with the doctors that wanted me to take hormone treatment, which has problems of its own, without diagnosing my condition through surgery.”
After her surgery, Hannah experienced the same cycle starting over again. She took hormonal contraceptives, the injection, the coil. But nothing worked for her and she ended up feeling even worse.
“Endometriosis pain cripples me 24/7. No number of painkillers can ease my pain. It literally feels like someone is stabbing me with a knife and twisting it until I’m bent over and can’t walk,” said Hannah.
“There are days where I physically cannot get out of bed because of the pain. Then there are days where I just make myself get out of bed and try to be productive.
“I’m constantly tired; I’m constantly judging my body. I struggle to maintain my weight because the pain can cause me to lose my appetite out of nowhere and I can go days without eating a proper meal because the thought of food makes me sick.
“I am lucky enough to finally have a date for my second surgery which I hope will give me some relief and let me live like a normal 25-year-old,” she added.
“There is no cure for endometriosis, even though I will have my endometriosis burned off, it will come back.
“ I have lived with this pain long enough to be able to say the words ‘I’m used to it’ and look like I am living a pain free life,” Hannah concluded.
For more information, or to donate to the Endometriosis Association of Ireland, visit www.endometriosis.ie.