Claire Mil­ner, 25, from Stoke-ontrent, won­dered why her pe­ri­ods were so ag­o­nis­ing...

Pick Me Up! Special - - Yoour Health -

As the school bell rang, I stood up from my stool. To my hor­ror, I felt a fa­mil­iar wet­ness… Glanc­ing at my seat, I saw a red stain, and died in­side. My pe­riod had come – and, once again, I’d bled through my school uni­form.

Ever since I started hav­ing pe­ri­ods, aged 12, this was a monthly oc­cur­rence.

As was the agony that came with them.

‘It’s just pe­riod pain,’ my friends would shrug. ‘You’ll soon get used to it.’ But no­body else had to keep two spare pairs of knick­ers in their

bag, or had to buy ex­tra-large tam­pons every month.

Every time I begged for an­swers, doc­tors said, ‘You need to learn to live with it.’

I bat­tled through seven years of trauma and em­bar­rass­ment, and I wasn’t get­ting an­swers.

So I started think­ing maybe it was all in my head.

At 19, I fell preg­nant with my son Joshua.

Those months with no pe­ri­ods were bliss. No bleed­ing and no pain… I felt free. I no longer had to dread each new month.

Joshua ar­rived in De­cem­ber 2012.

It was an ex­cru­ci­at­ing de­liv­ery – I tore com­pletely, front to back.

But when I held him in my arms, noth­ing else mat­tered.

Not long af­ter, I was back to nor­mal­ity, dread­ing each month’s agony.

I gave up my job, and started work­ing as a per­sonal trainer and run­ning a clean­ing com­pany on my own.

But my main aim was to fi­nally get an­swers about my pe­ri­ods.

I had ul­tra­sounds and MRIS at the hospi­tal, but they

all came back clear. It wasn’t un­til March 2015 that I got a di­ag­no­sis. Dur­ing a la­paroscopy, my sur­geon no­ticed that my uterus had fused with my pelvis. He op­er­ated then and there to sep­a­rate them. And when I woke up, he gave me the news. ‘You have en­dometrio­sis,’ he said. It meant that the tis­sue that would nor­mally line my uterus was grow­ing on the out­side. But surgery could make all the pain van­ish.

That year, I was free, able to start build­ing a new life. But sadly, in 2016, the pain came back.

And it was as blind­ing as be­fore…

But this time, surgery didn’t help.

By now, I was part of a great sup­port group with the char­ity En­dometrio­sis UK.

For years, no one had be­lieved me when I told them how much pain I was in, but every per­son I met knew how that felt.

They gave me ad­vice on pain re­lief and what I could do next.

I started on two types of in­jec­tions, which aimed to put me in a tem­po­rary state of menopause – but af­ter a few months, they failed, too.

Now I have to hope that fu­ture surg­eries and med­i­ca­tion will be enough to help.

I still live with this pain every day. It’s ex­cru­ci­at­ing, and to make mat­ters worse, there are com­pli­ca­tions con­cern­ing fer­til­ity, too.

At least now I know my pain isn’t all in my head.

The doc­tors were right about one thing – I do need to learn to live with it. I don’t re­ally have a choice. But I’m do­ing it on my own terms, in my own way.

It’s hard at times, but I’m strong enough to han­dle it.

Joshua keeps me go­ing

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