102 articles Articles posted in Health

8 Essential Items in a Natural Medicine Cabinet

Making the switch to holistic medicine is a change that can benefit both you and your family. Otherwise known as “complementary and alternative medicine,” holistic therapies include acupuncture, chiropractic care, homeopathy, and massage therapy among others. However, holistic practices also avoid pharmaceutical-grade chemicals in favor of natural healing remedies. If you’d like to learn more about all-natural medicine and which items can offer relief, keep reading—we’ve curated our top essential picks to have on hand when times are rough.

  • Immunity Boosters

At the first sign of a cold, having vitamins C and D on supply in order to boost your body’s immune system and ward off sickness can be a life saver. Vitamin C (or ascorbic acid) is a powerful antioxidant, is helpful to many bodily functions, and can be found in citrusy fruits such as oranges. Vitamin D supplements are especially helpful during winter months when sun exposure is low—and germ contamination is high—because it enables your body to produce over 200 antimicrobial peptides, which are indispensable for fighting off a wide range of infections.

  • Flu Relief

If you do succumb to a flu or cold, have peppermint essential oil available to help with nausea. A few drops into tea have proven to alleviate upset stomachs, while inhaling the scent of peppermint oil can trigger a sense of fullness and suppress the appetite. Massaging several drops of oil into the inner wrists can sooth general nausea or motion sickness, and rubbing it into the soles of your feet may help break a fever. Eucalyptus—in either loose leaf or essential oil form—is great for soothing coughs and clearing lungs. When inhaled through steam, it can help clear out your sinuses and congestion.

  • Indigestion

The next time you experience digestion issues such as heartburn or acid reflex, try taking ginger capsules as an antidote; ginger root is one of the best natural remedies for treating acute stomach problems. You can also consume ginger in a number of recipes to add a delightful kick to food (which is also great for your health!).

  • Pain Meds

Arnica montana is an all-natural homeopathic healer that has been used for centuries to treat bruising, swelling, and pain associated with soft tissue injury. Arnica pills are essential for when you need relief for painful strains or sore muscles. The plant can also be applied topically to treat insect bites, arthritis, muscle or cartilage pain, chapped lips and acne.

  • First Aid

There are a number of natural medicines to use for first aid treatment. Cayenne is a powerhouse that should be stored in tincture or powder form. It can be rubbed into wounds to stop bleeding (beware of burn!) and, when consumed, rapidly dilate blood vessels through increased circulation. Aloe Vera is a plant most people are familiar with for its effectiveness at treating burns. Look for gels that are free of added chemicals and preservatives for when you need cooling relief.

  • Acne Infections

When your skin is infected with the P. acnes bacteria strains that lead to break outs and blemishes, turn to your trusted tea tree oil. This miracle worker has strong antimicrobial properties that can kill bacteria long after it’s applied, offering a natural skincare solution. Be sure to dilute the oil with water before swabbing it onto your skin, however, or you could risk irritation.

  • Anti-Stress Support

Located in the pantry instead of the medicine cabinet, chamomile is your go-to herb when you need to lower your stress levels. Its flavor is great to cook with, and has a calming and relaxing effect. When drank in a warm tea, chamomile can sooth anxiety and sleep difficulties, too. Lavender is another flower great at promoting relaxation; sprinkle some into a soothing bath for an aromatic soak.

  • Multi-Vitamins and Minerals

You should always have an ample amount of multi-vitamin and mineral supplements in supply. Look for a comprehensive formula that can help improve your health and vitality all year long. Depending on your current condition, look for labels that promote:

  • Nutrient absorption
  • Sustained energy levels
  • Bone strength and support
  • Collagen production
  • Detoxification
  • Cellular growth

Nature offers a solution for the most common ailments in our day to day lives. If you’ve decided to forego the chemicals found in pharmaceutical products, give these holistic treatments a try! As always, refer to your doctor for the best advice regarding your health.

5 Health Benefits of CBD Oil

Benefits of CBD oilWhen you suffer with several chronic illnesses, the constant daily stream of tablets can get really tiring, especially when a new symptom arises and with it, the possibility of needing more medication. Recently, I discovered CBD oil and the many health benefits of using it, and I use it daily to deal with several different things, so I thought I’d share with you a few of the health benefits of using CBD oil.

Pain Management

One of the conditions I have, endometriosis, can be really painful at times, and while there’s the option of taking strong painkillers, it’s not something I really want to do on a daily basis as it can damage other organs in the long run. Taking a daily dose of CBD seems to keep my pain to a minimum or at a manageable level even on bad days, and means that my painkiller intake has reduced by about 90%.

Anxiety

I’ve suffered with anxiety on and off for years but refuse to take anti-anxiety medications because of the horrible list of side effects that can go with them, as well as not want to feel like a zombie on a daily basis. CBD really quietens my anxiety down and on the odd day that I forget to take it, I can really feel the difference in my symptoms.

Skin Issues

As well as suffering with psoriasis, I also have issues with hormone-related spots because of my gynae problems, but since using CBD my skin has been SO much better. The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD work wonders on a whole load of skin conditions and using it via vape pen as an e-liquid means that you can take a metered does every day and avoid the slightly unpleasant taste that is associated with taking it other ways.

Nausea

Nausea is something that I deal with on a semi-regular basis because of some of the medications that I have to take, and I’ve found that vaping CBD is a massive relief when the nausea gets too bad.

Blood Sugar Levels

I take daily medication for my diabetes, and my blood sugar is usually well controlled, but since I’ve been using CBD on a daily basis, my blood sugars have been the best they’ve been in ages. Obviously I wouldn’t recommend using it as an alternative to regular diabetes medication, but supplementing with CBD certainly can’t hurt!

Do you use CBD oil? What do you use it for? Leave me a comment below.

Vape Your Way Through No Smoking Day

It’s been many years since I gave up smoking cigarettes, apart from the very rare drunken night out where I succumb and smoke one or two, but that’s literally been about twice in the last ten years! I do, however, enjoy the occasional vape, and it’s got me thinking about the benefits of using a vape pen ahead of the NHS’s National No Smoking Day. Here are just five things that vaping can do for your health:

Weight Loss

I’m a classic “quit smoking and gained weight” case, where I replaced the cigarettes with food to fulfil my oral fixation and hand-to-mouth habit, and I’ve struggled to control my weight ever since. However, vaping instead of smoking reduces the appetite and replaces food with a healthy alternative to cigarettes, which was more than enough incentive for me to buy a kit and give it a go.

Pain 

As someone who has certain chronic illnesses and pain to deal with, using a vape to inhale CBD oil can really help to control the pain. It has anti-inflammatory properties and has been amazing at helping with my gynae pain.

Anxiety

In addition to CBD being a great ally against pain, it’s also been amazing for helping with my anxiety and vaping it is a much nicer way to ingest the oil than just dripping it into your mouth. CBD has been shown in studies to be just as effective as valium for some people dealing with anxiety, but with none of the side effects or addictiveness, which is remarkable for people who don’t want to use heavy pharmaceuticals.

Concentration

Believe it or not, nicotine is actually good for you in some ways, it’s all the OTHER parts of cigarettes which are bad for your health. Nicotine can actually improve focus, concentration, memory, refine motor skills and increase creativity.

Protect the Brain

Long term studies have shown that nicotine can actually protect the brain and as such has potential for treating patients with Alzheimer’s, Parkinsons and other degenerative brain issues. This means that choosing an e-liquid which contains nicotine can actually help your brain in the long term.

Best Ways to Finally Kick Your Smoking Habit

The recent advice coming from Public Health England (PHE), the government health body, suggesting that electronic cigarettes should be available in hospitals will come as no surprise to the thousands of ex-smokers who have already quit the habit by becoming vapers. The news brings the dangers of smoking back into the public eye and while this is a positive thing, what it fails to address is the need for people to take a more holistic approach when it comes to finally kicking the habit.

The Argument for Electronic Cigarettes

The evidence that electronic cigarettes are much safer than traditional cigarettes has been building for some time now and established vaping companies such as VIP Electronic Cigarette have long since been publishing information on their websites that document this. In 2015, for example PHE released research suggesting that vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking tobacco and the huge reduction in the numbers of people smoking, since the introduction of electronic cigarettes, has also been well covered.  What is less well documented, however, is that how, if, several other factors are brought into an individual’s approach to quitting their chances of being successful are even greater.

Living More Healthily

The number one reason that people choose to kick the smoking habit is to live a longer and healthier life. It stands to reason then that when attempting to quit smoking they could perhaps take on board a number of other things to do just that and to aid the process. Exercise is a typical example, starting to exercise can really support and incentivise an attempt to quit smoking as it amplifies the positive effects on the body greatly – the same can be said of eating more healthily.

A Suitable Replacement

Giving up smoking, as well as being beneficial to your health and your finances, also leaves you with more time and finding a proactive way to spend that time can help the process no end. One of the reasons vaping is good for helping people quit smoking is that it offers a direct replacement and one that is so similar, but there are other activities that could be explored, such as doing a crossword each day or another hobby/pastime. Finding positive ways to fill the time is paramount to success of those wishing to quit – “the devil makes work for idle hands”.

Vaping, it would appear, is an effective way to help people quit smoking, but add into the equation a range of other positive factors and the battle becomes significantly easier and more rewarding.

Tackling Anxiety the Natural Way

Guest Post

As a person who has suffered with anxiety attacks for almost 20 years, I regard most things which claim to solve them (or even help) with extreme cynicism.

It doesn’t matter whether they’re things that the doctor has prescribed which have pleasant side-effects like “suicidal ideation and malfunctioning penis”, or more benign, gentle things, like peppermint tea, they all seem to do the same thing for my anxiety – nix.

So when someone recommended CBD oil, I did my usual. I smiled, vowed to go and buy some immediately and walked away with precisely zero intention of ever doing so.

A time later, on a day when my anxiety was really amped up, I was feeling pretty low. The usual “I can’t go on like this” mantra was bouncing off the walls when I recalled my pal’s recommendation. I’d have a look, I thought. Even if it distracts me from this latest bout, it’ll be a good thing.

After a bit of cynical Googling I found myself eye-to-eye with some actual, honest to goodness information. Not the sort of thing chucked around by folk who prescribe crystals for haemorrhoids, either, but proper, science-based stuff. It was telling me that extensive research into CBD oil was under way and that, so far, results were encouraging.

The stuff may help with anxiety, along with a laundry list of other illnesses, and it carried with it minimal risk when compared to other medications and treatments. So, after exhaustively devouring every piece of reputable information I could find on the subject, I chose to give it a go.

Fast forward 2 months and I can say with some certainty that the stuff has changed my life. And I don’t make these proclamations lightly. I’m not, by any stretch of the imagination, an effusive person.

I started off on a small drip under the tongue once a day, and within a week or so I began to feel more even. It wasn’t a silver bullet effect, but day by day things started to dial down, until the invasive thoughts were less like a nagging voice and more like a barely audible echo.

Perhaps the only major drawback was the taste. To say it’s unpleasant would be an understatement. But I got around that potential sticking point by moving from a drip on the tongue to a vape liquid and electronic cigarette, which gives me the same benefits without the feeling that I was going to vomit.

I honestly cannot stress how much better I feel thanks to this stuff.

Given the costs of prescriptions, the potential damage that some pharmaceutical medications can do to you long term, and the potential side effects, it’s a no brainer for me.

The setup costs were minimal. The oil isn’t cheap cheap but it isn’t mega expensive, and a 5 minute visit to somewhere like Vapour.com to get a decent vape kit didn’t break the bank, either.

As I sit here now, typing this, I actually feel better, and I didn’t need any mad pills, transcendental meditation or expensive pseudomedicines to get there.

I don’t expect you to blindly take the word of a stranger on the internet, but if you’re on the fence, dealing with anxiety or depression and can’t think of what to do next, consider the opinion of this here cynic. It may well change things around for you.

Feel Good Contacts (review and discount code)

Last year, when I started going to the gym a lot, I quickly became aware that wearing glasses and lifting weights were not very compatible – there’s nothing quite so precarious as positioning yourself under a bar to do some heavy squats, only for your glasses to slide down your nose. You have the choice to either re-rack your bar and push them up (only for it to happen again as soon as you lift) or try to hold the bar with one hand while balanced on your shoulders and push them up. Trust me, neither are good options, and I realised that I’d need to give contact lenses another go if I wanted to carry on lifting.

For me, the best option was to have my eyes tested and have a contact lens consultation at a high street optician, and then use my prescription to buy my lenses online, which is what I’ve now been doing for over a year, however the lenses I’ve been using have been getting progressively more uncomfortable, so I knew I needed a change. As luck would have it, the guys from Feel Good Contacts got in touch as asked if I’d like to try some lenses from their range, so I jumped at the chance!

Feel Good Contacts packaging

Feel Good Contacts is the cheapest online retailer of contact lenses on the market and due to their Price Match guarantee, customers will not find their lenses cheaper anywhere else online, or on the high street. Feel Good can save customers up to 50% on their contact lenses. They also offer a ‘matching service’ which helps you to find an alternative to the lenses you already wear, giving you options. They also offer Next Day Delivery when you order before 7.15pm, which is amazing service!

The lenses that Feel Good Contacts originally wanted me to trial turned out to be unsuitable because I have an astigmatism in one eye and need a toric lens, but they were able to recommend some lenses for me (Coopervision Biofinity and Biofinity Toric) and they were absolutely spot on! I’ve been wearing them for almost a month and they’re the most comfortable lenses I’ve ever worn. Feel Good Contacts sent me a lens case and some solution with my lenses too, making it a perfect little package with everything I need. Delivery was really fast and everything was beautifully packed to fit through a letterbox so you don’t have to worry abut not being around when they’re delivered.

I have enough lenses to last me until the beginning of April, but I will 100% be using Feel Good Lenses to buy my contacts when I need to get some more as the combination of the price, the delivery and the customer service has all been amazing. If you’re thinking of making a change to your contact lens provide, I can highly recommend Feel Good Contacts and as an added bonus I have a discount code for Mum’s the Word readers to use, giving you an additional 12% off of – just enter STAYCOMFI12 at the checkout. Oh, and do come back and leave me a comment to tell me what you think of Feel Good Contacts, too!

How to Sue the NHS if You’ve Suffered from Medical Negligence

As a wave of news reports have revealed, the NHS is failing many of its patients. Medical negligence, whether due to mistakes or lack of care, is depressingly common. What many don’t realize is that you can sue the NHS if you’ve suffered from medical negligence. Nor do you have to take whatever minimal level of care they offer you as compensation. Here is information regarding how to sue the NHS if you’ve suffered from medical negligence.

Decide to Take Action

NHS negligence claims are typically bound by the same three year time limit that many medical negligence cases face. Don’t accept their recommendations to wait a few more months for a second opinion and then a few more months to see a specialist to treat your condition if the initial incident occurred several months ago. You run the risk of the three year time limit running out while you wait for the NHS to deliver care to correct for its initial mistake. And heaven forbid they put you on a two year waiting list for surgery to correct their first mistake and then drop you because you’re overweight or your condition deteriorated too much. Decide to take action instead of just waiting for the state to fix things.

If you or your loved one is still in the hospital, confront medical staff directly instead of accepting their advice to wait and see if things get better. If it is necessary, file a formal complaint. This establishes that you’re unhappy with the service or experiencing problems from their inadequate care or mistakes. It generates a paper trail that is invaluable when you take them to court.

What if your child is suffering the consequences of someone else’s medical negligence? The three year time limit doesn’t start until the child turns 18. The child could thus, in theory, file a case as an adult, though this isn’t an option if they are mentally impaired. If you’re in need of legal help for a medical negligence claim on behalf of a child, consult with an attorney now. You don’t have to wait until the child is 18 to file a claim on their behalf, since you’re probably incurring medical and caregiving expenses on their behalf already.

If your loved one has died due to medical negligence by the NHS, you can sue the NHS as well. Consult with a medical negligence expert, since the statute of limitations may be the date on which they were injured, or in some cases, the date that they died. Seek professional advice before you give up due to the mistaken belief it is too late to seek redress.

And don’t fall for the propaganda that you’re hurting the NHS if you sue them for the injuries or harm you’ve received. If you file a medical negligence claim against them and win, the NHS’s management will have another incentive to improve quality of care, get rid of bad doctors or alter procedures so that future mistakes don’t happen. It is rare that the medical practitioner involved loses their job unless it is truly an egregious mistake or they have a history of such errors, and in these cases, they shouldn’t be in their job.

Request All of Your Medical Records

Your medical records are yours, and it is your right to receive a copy of them. Know that you may need to pay a modest fee for copies of medical notes to be made. Don’t worry about these charges; if you win a medical negligence case against the NHS, these costs can be recouped. You want these records now, before you see a solicitor, so that their investigation will go much faster. And getting copies of the records now before you mention that you’re going to talk to an attorney ensures the staff doesn’t get defensive and delay giving you information.

Seek a Medical Negligence Expert

The first step is to find medical negligence solicitors with experience suing the NHS, you can quickly get in contact with someone using the contact form at websites like www.the-medical-negligence-experts.co.uk. The NHS is not easy to sue, and cases end up getting dropped quite often, so you have to make sure that your lawyer understands the NHS negotiating tactics so you don’t get swindled in your settlement. You should also work with a solicitor who has an actual story of winning cases against the NHS as well.

If your medical negligence solicitors are focused on suing private healthcare facilities, they are less likely to come to an amenable settlement with the NHS. And you should seek your own legal counsel, not just go with the legal advice you may have received from the NHS when you filed a complaint against them.

You should also make sure that you pick the right solicitor as well if you want to encourage cooperation. The best medical negligence solicitors are those who take every case seriously and are ready to fight till the end for their clients. A good medical negligence UK solicitor should also have a long standing record and a reputation for getting results. Don’t get overwhelmed by star cases, and try to see if they have success with smaller cases as well.

Cooperate with Your Solicitor

This isn’t an oxymoron. Too many people hire a solicitor and then get frustrated when asked to make more copies of medical and other receipts or be reluctant to add detailed financial bookkeeping of every little cost related to the injury and maintaining the home after the incident. Or they refuse to visit a second medical professional for a separate, unbiased medical evaluation. They may be tired of all the run-around with doctors or feel it is unnecessary.

However, your solicitor is trying to generate the documentation that will maximize the odds of winning your case in court. You may be asked to see more than one independent medical specialist because they are seeking a firm diagnosis or verification of your recovery before filing the claim.

Be Patient

The NHS is a bureaucratic behemoth, but it does have processes for settling medical negligence claims UK. This can take months for some, years for others. The more serious the injury or harm, the longer it takes to settle. The more complex the case, the longer it takes, too. Don’t be afraid of going to court, though, since fewer than 2% of cases against the NHS go to court, and you’ll have a qualified solicitor by your side the whole time.

Conclusion

Whatever you do, it’s important that you take action if you feel you’ve been a victim of medical malpractice, even if it’s against the NHS. It may start with filing a complaint while you’re still in the hospital. Request copies of your medical records while avoiding threats of legal action to ensure the medical facility’s full cooperation.

Then seek the advice of medical negligence experts who have experience taking on the National Health Service. Cooperate with the solicitor when they ask you do to something, whether keeping detailed bookkeeping, making more copies of receipts or visiting another medical professional for yet another medical evaluation. Be patient when dealing with the solicitor and the NHS. Complex cases and those with multiple liable parties take longer to resolve.

New Year, New You!

New Year, New You!It’s January again (can you even believe that Christmas is all over for another year?!) and for many of us, that means trying to quit certain habits or change ourselves in some way for the new year. I’ve seen lots of people talking on social media about things they’d like to change and I thought I’d share a few of them with you today in case you’re struggling for a bit of inspiration:

Quit Smoking

More and more people are swapping cigarettes for electronic cigarettes, which is a great way to stop smoking. There’s been a whole load of evidence emerging from the NHS and other government sources which are proving over and again that vaping is exponentially better for us than smoking, so even if you totally swap to an electronic cigarette and use that instead, you’ll be doing your health the world of good, and if you’ve got kids you won’t have to worry about passive inhalation. And if you don’t know how to vape, there’s a whole array of starter kits available to get you going.

Get Fit

I see a lot of people talking about “losing weight” by following certain diets, but I always find it makes me happy when I see people talking about getting FIT instead of getting slim. Obviously, if you’re overweight then losing weight by any means will make your body healthier, but cardiovascular fitness is so important and a lot of people don’t realise that it’s possible to be skinny but still unhealthy.

Take Time for Yourself

So often, us mums forget to take time for ourselves in amongst the daily too-ings and fro-ings of family life and it can leave us feeling totally frazzled and underappreciated. Making a resolution to take some time for yourself, being it reading a book, taking a long bath, having your hair done or something else, will give you a moment to focus on yourself rather than everyone else and can really help with your mental state and sense of wellbeing.

Stop Drinking

Dry January is becoming more popular every year, with lots of us feeling the need to have a rest from drinking after the excesses of Christmas and New Years Eve, but have you ever thought about quitting the booze for longer? Lots of parents admit to drinking a few glasses of wine almost every night and when you look at your weekly consumption it really adds up. We all know how bad booze can be for our bodies and going as long as you can without it could really do your liver a favour!

Have you made a resolution to look after yourself this year? I’d love to hear about it, so please leave me a comment below.

How to Deal with Painful PostPartum Acne

You’re a new mother, and have a million new things to worry about. Acne should not be one of them. Unfortunately, postpartum acne is an all too common reality and a struggle that many women encounter following the birth of their child. As if the stress over learning curves and sleepless nights weren’t enough, the presence of untimely acne adds to your strain and distracts you from the joy you should be experiencing with your newborn.

What is Postpartum acne?

Postpartum acne is the presence of blemishes along the cheeks, chin, lips, neck, jawline, chest, and/or back following the birth of a baby. Such breakouts are especially frustrating for women who were never prone to acne before their pregnancy, and for those who miss that rosy, mom-to-be glow caused by estrogen-rich blood. Postpartum acne is due to hormonal fluctuation, and can be made worse by stress, sleep deprivation, and little time for skincare. Estrogen tends to curb acne, but after the baby is born and estrogen levels drop, your body struggles to restore normal hormone levels. Just like the rest of your body, it will take a long time for your complexion to return following delivery. Although incredibly frustrating, postpartum acne is perfectly normal and treatable.

First Steps

The first step towards correcting postpartum acne is to change your skin care products. The products you used during your pregnancy will most likely not be effective for the new condition of your skin. If you have dry skin, your body produces excess oil to compensate for the lack in moisture—this can lead to breakouts. If you’re experiencing dry skin, try switching to a heavier moisturizer that not only hydrates but also tightens pores to keep out dirt. New mothers should avoid harshly perfumed products, and if breastfeeding, be very careful regarding which acne treatments to use. As a general rule of thumb, over-the-counter acne products—with ingredients such as glycolic acid or benzoyl peroxide—are safe to use while breastfeeding, but double-check with your OBGYN.

If you prefer all-natural home remedies to treat your postpartum acne, try using apple cider vinegar. Mix one-part unfiltered vinegar with three-parts distilled water and apply with a cotton ball for a toner rich in naturally occurring enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids. Baking soda works well for spot treatments, and coconut oil soothes skin while delivering antibacterial and antifungal properties. If your blemishes are painful, try icing your acne to reduce inflammation and swelling. Warm water cleanses followed by liberal amount of Witch Hazel and tea tree oil have also been reported to combat painful postpartum acne.

Consider Your Diet

Diet and nutrition are other essential components for curbing postpartum acne. High-glycemic foods—such as sugar, flour, breads, cookies, crackers—can contribute to breakouts by creating a spike in insulin levels. Avoid processed foods and opt for a healthy diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants to fight off free radicals. Additionally, fruits and vegetables provide Vitamin C and beta carotene which have been proven to help improve skin condition. Be sure to drink at least

eight cups of water per day to stay hydrated internally and to flush out toxins.

If none of these strategies have worked for you, it might be time to visit your dermatologist. There are a variety of topical solutions safe for new mothers that can fight off the bacteria trapped in the layers of your skin. If your pimples are severely inflamed or painful, prescription treatments are the way to go. Be sure to call a doctor if you experience acne in unusual spots to avoid misidentifying a staph infection. Putting your skin into the hands of a professional is a viable option for busy moms whose time is better spent elsewhere than figuring out their acne woes. Consider seeing a licensed esthetician who can perform soothing skin treatments and recommend tips and tricks for your home regimen.

No matter what, remember that everybody’s skin is different, and your pregnancy experience will not be the same as your sister’s or best friend’s. Try to enjoy the wonder that is this time and don’t let postpartum acne get you down. Focus on how beautiful your baby thinks you are, acne and all.

Endometriosis and my 20-year Journey Towards Diagnosis #spon #aminumber5?

Christmas Day, 1993. The presents had been opened, the turkey eaten, the crackers pulled and the adults had sat down to watch the Eastenders Christmas Special. My belly was hurting, so I excused myself and went to the loo, where I discovered that Mother Nature had a belated surprise for me; my periods had started.

I was nine.

Skip forward 3 or four years and the hospital visits started. I went to the hospital about 6 times in a year, only to be sent home again with “grumbling appendix”, reeling from the fact that I had to have a doctor examine me by sticking a finger up my bum, every single time (despite the fact that I never had the usual fever and vomiting, just unexplained abdominal pain) and that nothing was being done to help me. My periods were heavy, even from this young age and I thought it was just what everyone dealt with. My mother, in the meantime, had been diagnosed with endometriosis after battling with doctors since the age of 19 about her horrific periods and pain. They treated her with hormone implants directly into her uterus to try to slow the spread of the growths, but ultimately it was too late and she had to have a full hysterectomy aged 35, including her ovaries and fallopian tubes, and her lesions were so severe there was talk of her losing part of her bowel, although luckily for her they managed to save it.

I think, in some way, I’ve always known that I had the same disease. I’ve seen a dozen different gynaecologists, been told a number of different potential diagnoses, and despite the familial link, my questions about endometriosis have always been brushed away. Last year, it got too much. I sat in my gynae’s office after YET ANOTHER ultrasound where they concluded that I was perfectly normal and cried. I asked them, through the tears, how it could possibly be normal for a 32 year old woman to sometimes be in pain for hours after sex and how penetration can sometimes feel like a knife to the belly? I asked them how it can be normal that sometimes my periods are so heavy that I can barely leave the house, how I lose huge clots and so much blood that I can, at times, feel it literally gushing from my body? I asked how it can be normal to be in almost constant pain during certain times of the month?

Endometriosis and me. Me, aged 11 – the pain from endometriosis started not long after this photo was taken, although it was misdiagnosed for over 20 years.

I think it was only because of my apparent hysteria and my resolute refusal to accept the same old line of “some women just have to deal with these things”, that made him offer me an MRI. A definitive window into my abdomen which would pick up even the slightest imperfection, something which could realistically have been done a long, long time ago, something which would have given me an answer and maybe made me and others believe that I wasn’t going mad.

And, lo and behold, the results came back.

“I’m sorry to tell you, Mrs. Crammond, that you DO have endometriosis. It’s a deep, infiltrating type which needs to be dealt with by a specialist, so we’ll be referring you to University College Hospital in London to have it seen to”.

And this time, there were no tears from me. I actually laughed when the doctor gave me my result. My accompanying “I KNEW IT!” may have been a bit too much, given the circumstances, but being handed this diagnosis was more than just a name for my problems. It was the key to a solution, and more than that, it was vindication. Proof that I wasn’t going mad, that I hadn’t just been being a drama queen all those years and confirmation that the pain and the bleeding and all the other issues weren’t even close to being ‘normal’.

One thing which has been abundantly clear, throughout the past twenty years of suffering, is that the onus has always been on me to just deal with it. The problems I was facing weren’t life threatening, and although they affected my day-to-day life, my pain just wasn’t considered important enough for anyone to find a cause for it. If I hadn’t fought, tooth and nail, for someone to take me seriously, I’d still be none the wiser and in my experience of other women and this problem, this is a prevailing attitude when it comes to gynaecological care.

It’s affected my life in so many more ways than just ‘a period’. I’ve missed social events, had days where it’s physically impossible to exercise because the bleeding is so heavy, not to mention the fact that it’s exhausting at times and regularly leaves me massively anaemic. Both the kids and Husband have had to deal with me having days where I’m in so much pain that all I can do is sit and quietly cry to myself, not to mention the effect it has on my mental health and feelings of absolute helplessness.

The most recent problem was being put on the mini-pill, which can apparently help to limit the growths, but no mind was paid to past mental health issues when prescribing them to me and I went on a downward spiral of increasingly dark thoughts about not wanting to be here any more. Fortunately for me, Husband realised that I was being sucked into the mental quicksand and that my downswing had coincided directly with me starting these pills. He begged me to stop taking them before I did something which could have destroyed our family and I sit here feeling unbelievably lucky to have him on my team, through thick and thin.

The Am I Number 5? campaign, reflecting the 1 in 5 women affected, aims to help raise awareness for heavy periods. It’s an educational awareness campaign to help women recognise and understand that heavy periods are a medical condition which can be treated. That there is a solution and you don’t have to fight through years of pain as I did.

Am I Number 5?Am I Number 5?

Both fibroids and endometriosis can cause heavy periods, as can a number of other conditions. But despite affecting so many women, heavy periods can be a ‘taboo’ topic, with many women too embarrassed to discuss it.

More women need to realise that you don’t have to just live with heavy periods and that, actually, they aren’t a ‘fact of life’. Your life shouldn’t revolve around your menstrual cycle, and if it is affecting your life to that degree, you should ask for help. Prepare to be turned away or treated like a drama queen, but DON’T GIVE UP. Ultrasounds are the go-to early diagnostic tool for gynae problems but they rarely ever pick up endometriosis and an MRI is usually the only definitive way to get a diagnosis.

Although I got my diagnosis back in March, I’m still waiting for my referral to London to see the specialist, and I reckon by the time I finally get my appointment it’ll be close to a year since I was told it’s definitely Endo. The NHS is obviously pretty stretched at the moment so I’m trying to remain pragmatic about the fact that I have a diagnosis and will be seen…at SOME point in the future. When that might be, remains to be seen.

Wear White Again is a campaign which aims to educate women on what’s normal when it comes to bleeding and the different treatment options available. It’s SO important that campaigns like this exist and that we really up the ante with regards to getting help for women, like me, who are suffering unnecessarily.

Do you suffer from heavy periods? Have you been waiting for a diagnosis for years? Do you feel like your periods are unmanageable and are causing an impact on your life? If you’ve experienced any of this, leave me a comment below, but more importantly; DEMAND HELP. You can get involved with the Am I Number 5? campaign by painting your nails (with one nail a different colour to the rest as I have above) and posting them to social media with the #AmINumber5 hashtag.

I’m working with Hologic and BritMums to promote the Am I Number 5? campaign. Visit www.wearwhiteagain.co.uk for more information and advice