'The pain was like having labour contractions every month' - Mum who chose to induce menopause at 26 after battle with endometriosis pain
A 26-year-old mum has opened up about her excruciating battle with endometriosis in a bid to raise awareness of the condition.
It has taken Jessica Brady three years to finally get a diagnosis of endometriosis – a long-term condition where tissue similar to the lining of the womb grows in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes.
The condition has caused the mum-of two to suffer from heavy and painful periods, with pain in her back, legs and pelvis, among other symptoms.
From the age of 23, Jessica, from Wheatley Hill, County Durham, has been in and out of hospital multiple times to try and find out the cause of her suffering – with her pain being so debilitating she has often passed out.
“I knew something wasn’t right as the pain I was experiencing was like I was having labour contractions every single month,” she said.
"I would wake my partner up early 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.”
Jessica, a nursery nurse at Nesham Private Nursery, Houghton, continued: “My journey has seen me back and forth from the doctors for a full three years – once or twice every single month.
"I have been referred to three different consultants and have had to go to A&E more than six times where I was put on an instant morphine drip.
"Each time I was referred to hospital or went to the doctors I was told that it was ‘severe IBS’ and I was discharged with a handful of medication.”
The turning point came in January 2020 when Jessica was referred to a gynaecologist where she learned for the first time what endometriosis was.
In order to get a diagnosis, Jessica had to undergo an operation called ‘laparoscopy’ on September 25, 2020.
During the surgery doctors found that Jessica did have endometriosis and it was cut away from her right ovary and bladder.
But by November 2020 Jessica’s symptoms came back and she made the decision to have an induced menopause in a bid to relieve the pain.
Jessica, who is mum to Ellie, eight, and Mason, four, said: “Shutting my ovaries off at the age of 26 was a scary thought but it was my option to get some sort of relief.
“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.”
But Jessica, who competes in pageants, says the treatment hasn’t stopped her pain entirely and says it is a condition she will have to live with forever.
"Having endometriosis has had a massive impact on my life,” she said.
“I can have events planned but may have to cancel at the last minute because a ‘flare-up’ can come on anytime.
"I am due to get married in July which will be the biggest day of my life, but I always think; ‘what if?’
"It is a condition that I have to live with everyday.”
To mark Endometriosis Awareness Month, Jessica is cycling for 30 minutes every day during March to raise awareness and funds for Endometriosis UK, a charity that 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.
The charity says endometriosis is the second most common gynaecological condition in the UK, affecting one in 10 women.
Urging other women with symptoms to push for a diagnosis Jessica said: "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."
To donate visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/j-brady-endo