'I begged doctors for a hysterectomy at the age of 28'

From BBC - December 5, 2017

The pain of endometriosis has plagued Carrie-Mae Macmillan for most of her life.

She says she was in such acute pain she could not walk, move or hold down a job.

But Carrie-Mae says she struggled for six years to be taken seriously.

Her doctor constantly told her what she was feeling was normal and dismissed her level of pain, she says.

Endometriosis is the second most common gynaecological condition in the UK.

Tissue that behaves like womb lining is found in other bits of the body, causing nasty symptoms.

Carrie-Mae blames it for the breakdown of her marriage, a chain of painful miscarriages and the inability to work.

She reached the stage at the age of 28 when she begged her surgeon to perform a hysterectomy.

Carrie-Mae, from Old Kilpatrick in West Dunbartonshire, told the Kaye Adams Programme: "I was seeing the surgeon more than I was seeing my own family.

"I begged him for a hysterectomy but they would not do it.

"I was told I was too young - it was too big an operation and my condition was not life-threatening so they just would not do it on the NHS."

Over 10 years Carrie-Mae had more than 25 surgeries.

Not taken seriously

She said: "My body got adhesions from the damage, adhesions sticking my fallopian tubes together. The pain was becoming so unbearable."

She underwent laparoscopies to remove adhesions on her womb and bladder, but the relief would last for shorter periods as time went on.

Carrie-Mae ended up going private and paying for her own hysterectomy two years ago when she was 33.

But because there was so much damage, she still has to have regular operations to remove the endometriosis.

Endometriosis affects one in 10 women of reproductive age in the UK.

Yet it is incredibly difficult for a woman to be diagnosed and treated early.

Carrie-Mae knew early on she had an issue but felt she was not taken seriously for many years.

She said: "I was about 17 and with my friends.

"But they were not complaining and did not seem to be in as much pain as me.

"As the years were going on, I could not get out of bed, I was missing school, really unwell, fainting and being taken into hospital.

"Doctors dismissed it as "women's problems" and kept thinking it was Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)."

After getting married at the age of 21, Carrie-Mae's symptoms increased.

She said: "It was absolutely horrendous, like a vicious cycle. I had several miscarriages - another complication of endometriosis - and my third one destroyed me completely.

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