Young mum from Swaffham won't stay silent on the illness that has left her bedridden
A 24-year-old woman has made the life-changing decision to get a hysterectomy after years of suffering with endometriosis.
Sophie Lawrence, a single mother of two from Swaffham wants to raise awareness of the silent illness that affects 1-in-10 women of any age.
Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the womb starts to grow in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes, causing often unbearable pain.
Miss Lawrence has suffered from endometriosis since the age of 11 and has described "crying and rolling around in pain" with the condition, which has meant she is on strong painkillers such as Oxycodone, an opiate 1.5 times stronger than morphine.
She told the Lynn News: "This doesn't just affect me on my monthly cycle, I'm bedridden most of the time and stops me doing most things. I suffer in the evening having multiple baths or trips to hospital."
At the time of the interview Miss Lawrence was in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Lynn.
She is seeking a hysterectomy to solve the issue, but needs to raise the money privately as NHS gynaecologists have advised her against it due to her age.
She said: "They do not know what else they can do for me, they do not seem to want to do the surgery due to my age and I may meet someone later in life and want children.The fact that I was lucky enough to have two beautiful children already is a miracle itself, being told I would never have children."
A hysterectomy surgery involves the removal of the womb and sometimes the ovaries and cervix. This will halt the menstrual cycle, although if the ovaries are not removed reproduction hormones will still be released. Many women with hormonal and gynaecological conditions undergo this type of procedure so they can live a more normal life.
According to the NHS website: "A hysterectomy may remove the areas of endometrial tissue causing the pain.But it'll usually only be considered if other less invasive treatments have not worked and the woman decides not to have - or is unable to have - any children."
Miss Lawrence said her medication has been "back tracked" on the NHS and her desire for hysterectomy surgery has left her with little option but to seek private treatment which will cost £8000.
She is also keen to raise awareness of this female issue. Numerous accounts over the years have detailed how women aren't taken as seriously for menstrual issues. In a study titled The Girl Who Cried Pain: a bias against women in the treatment of pain by DE Hoffmann and AJ Tarzian in 2001said: "Breitbart and colleagues found that women were significantly more likely than men to receive inadequate analgesic therapy."
Miss Lawrence said: "I have been back tracked on my medication in the last year, which has caused other issues. Most trips to the hospital end in me staying there for a week or more and I've had them think I've been making it up or just doing it for attention."
The mum-of-two has had floods of support from social media, friends and family after launching her GoFundMe page and has already managed to raise over £2,500.
She said: "My mum was the one to suggest setting up the fundraising page after seeing me at home rolling around crying.
"The reaction I've had has been amazing with everyone chipping in to help so I don't have to suffer any longer.
"Even if I don't have any donations I want to share my story to make women and girls realise they aren't alone in this silent and hidden illness."
To donate to Sophie's fund head to her GoFundMe page here.