Cat Vaginas, Natural Yogurt and Blood In Your Knickers! – Meet the ‘Bitch Hoes’ (Part 1)

You’re probably wondering what the F I’m on about from reading the title of this post. WELL. Let me explain. I have a couple of blog posts coming up, a series if you’re fancy, written and worded by some of my oldest, dearest, maddest mates. This particular group of girls I will introduce you to I have known collectively since the age of 11. But some of them are my home girls from the tender age of 5. So you know, we are tight. We joined forces in Year 7 and have been getting drunk in fields ever since. They are wonderful. The girl group to end all girl groups. These are their stories. Their vaginas. Let me introduce you to the Bitch Hoes

Bitch Hoes on Wikipedia: 

Bitch Hoes, a group on WhatsApp made up of 7 really brilliant women. The group was founded on Facebook and WhatsApp between 2015-2017, but previously members of the group have been chatting daily since 1998. The name originates from…. well there is no origin. It is what it says on the tin. The Bitch Hoes. Take that as you will. The group discussions usually focus on, believe it or not, vaginas, penises, goats and a shit ton of photos and memes. Also included in the highly important group chat are conversations on physical and mental health, women, love, heaps of advice, undying support and general adoration for one another. A popular theme currently is the ‘Friday Positivity Message’ where each member of the group shares a positive of their week. All of the members originate from a small town in Hertfordshire and are currently spreading their wings and putting out fires in all areas of life. Basically being complete bosses.

Since beginning my Gash Gossip journey, the Bitch Hoes have been a constant for support, words of encouragement and of course fanny tales. It felt only right to include them all in a couple of special posts dedicated to them and their vaginas. Funnily enough every one of us 7 members of the group have a vagina, and so every one of us should get the opportunity to chat about it, right? Right.

This post, as you can see by the title, is Part 1 where you will be introduced to the first two members of this very exclusive group. Be prepared to think about cat vaginas and natural yogurt up your flange! 

First up it’s Charlotte. The Jill to my Marion. A 24 year old digital marketing strategist living her best life in the Big Apple! With a “wonky, wobbly, perfectly imperfect little wonder” of a vagina. 

Do you have any vagina related conditions? If yes, how does this affect your day
to day life?
I used to be really susceptible to thrush after too much sex which got REALLY
frustrating. I remember once at uni a friend caught me buying Canesten in Boots and I
lied and pretended it was for a skin condition which is madness looking back on it now.
Own it! Oh and I also once tried sticking a tampon slathered in natural yogurt inside me
because I read somewhere that it was a natural remedy. Don’t try it: it’s messy, smelly
and doesn’t work.

How often do you seek medical advice regarding your lady parts?
Rarely. The first time I got thrush I spent two whole days working myself up to go to the
docs about it, and then when I finally did I spent the whole time sweating profusely. I
also refused to see a male doctor and probably would still only see a female about my
fanny to this day.

How often do you speak to friends, family, your partner about your vagina?
Omg all the time. I swear 90% of the topic of conversation with Bitch Hoes is fanny
focused. I’m very open with my boyfriend as well – if I’m sore I’ll get him to stick his head between my legs in a totally un-sexy way and check it out (poor fella). Growing up with my mum and sister meant vaginas were discussed pretty frankly at home as well.

What is one thing you would like to see change about the way women talk about
their vaginas?
I would love us to lose the stigma and shame attached to our vaginas. So many women
(myself included) find it uncomfortable to publicly discuss them, but they are SO
powerful and important. They are self-cleansing, orgasm-inducing, keys to new life! We
should be screaming from the rooftops about how wonderful they are!

What do you dislike about your vagina?
I don’t like how paranoid it makes me. Does it smell funny? Does it look like other vaginas? Have I shaved? Will my new underwear irritate it? Have I bled through my knickers? WHO CARES?!

What do you love about your vagina?
I love that she is my gateway to intimacy with my boyfriend (and myself!). I love that she
is smart enough to send me signals when things aren’t quite right down there, and that
one day (hopefully) she is literally going to be able to pass new life into the world.

A big warm Gash Gossip welcome to Lauren too! Our 25 year old veterinary nurse, diagnosing all our pets problems on the reg. via WhatsApp! 

Lauren, hi! 

Hi! I’m a 25-year-old single pringle still living with my rents and spend most of my life
working – just like most 20-somethings I know. My vagina knowledge is minimal – I know
more (too much) about dog and cat vaginas than I do my own. (n.b I’m a veterinary
nurse and a general understanding of animal vaginas and penises is occasionally
required for certain parts of my job. Definitely not some weirdo who looks up animal
genitalia for fun…)

What does your vagina get up to at the moment?
It leads a pretty boring life, but it’s functional, does what it’s told and rarely has any
issues. I don’t have any vagina related conditions at present – apart from loneliness and sexual neglect. 

Have you had any recent health related issues concerning your lady parts? 
No, thankfully. But I really really need to book my smear test!

How often do you speak to friends, family, your partner about your vagina?
It’s a pretty taboo subject in my household – mainly because I live with my rents and it
very rarely comes up in dinner conversation, but it’s up and coming with my Bitch Hoes.

What do you dislike about your vagina?
It’s a pretty ugly organ and shaving/waxing rash is literally the most annoying thing in the world!

What would you like to see more of on the Gash Gossip blog?
Maybe stuff regarding contraception? I feel like there are so many choices and lots of nasty side effects that need to be discussed. 

Thank you Charlotte and Lauren for sharing a little bit about your minge and for being open, honest and unfiltered. That’s what the gossip is all about! 

What I love the most about these girls is that there was a time when NONE of us would discuss these sorts of intimate topics with each other. Now, it is all we talk about. And so it should be. These women are just as much a part of my mission to make talking about our fannies normal. Especially when 50% of the time, nothing about a fanny is normal. They do stuff on their own accord and having friends at the other end of WhatsApp is literally a god send on the days when the minge is misbehaving.

Part 2 coming soon! 

 

Thank you so much for coming back. Working on this wee blog brings me SO much joy I cannot tell you. It brings a bit of light to my week when there is too much bloody dark. I hope it is helping some of you with your fanny troubles or it is making you book your smear test (Lauren! I’m looking at you!) Reading about other vaginas, in a non-scary/you’re going to die way, really helped me this year. And even if you’re not experiencing anything at the moment, I hope you’re laughing and nodding along with the rest of us. 

Throwing loads of girl power at you today. Go and give your best mates a big squeeze!

Soph x

07/11/2018

 

 

“The Delivery Mechanism For Three Beautiful Children” – Anonymous

Gash Gossip was always intended to reach every woman out there. Every vagina out there. No matter the size, age, haired, hairless or history. And to be honest, it was a chance to broaden my own knowledge of my vagina and what might happen to it in the future. I am becoming increasingly aware that the answer to that is, quite an effing lot

Now, I have always been told that I think too much about the future. Or the past. And I should just think about the now. “Live in the now. Don’t worry about tomorrow. Forget yesterday.”

But excuse me for wanting to be prepared! Preparation never hurt anybody, in fact, it will probably save many a fanny to think about the things it might have coming. Which is why I am so pleased our next Gossip Queen got in contact with me. Prepare for some insight into a vagina that has so far given birth to 3 children, had a diagnosis of endometrial cancer, a full hysterectomy and plenty of experience about what we should be using on our bits, and what we really shouldn’t. E.g Using E45 cream down there! Something I’ve been using after shaving ever since my first pube with no awareness of the effects it could be having on my young, blooming vag. 

So without further ado, let me introduce you to our next wonder woman.

Firstly, tell us a bit about yourself and your vagina, you know the drill.

I’m 66, happily married for 40 years, with three grown up children and two
gorgeous granddaughters. I have a job working for a company making and selling
organic intimacy products.

All was fine until I had my first baby with a nasty episiotomy (a surgical cut made at the opening of the vagina during childbirth, to aid a difficult delivery and prevent rupture of tissues). I breastfed for nearly a year, which caused vaginal dryness and therefore a lube was needed. KY jelly was all there was and little did I know that it caused irritation which doctors thought was thrush. 25 years later after misdiagnosis and biopsies, I finally worked out that it was due to using chemically based lubricants rather than to a thrush infection. Standard sanitary products that are bleached with chlorine also caused problems but I didn’t know this at the time. There are organic cotton products now such as Natracare and Organyc. I was finally able to sort the problem using YES organic lubricants and after the menopause, I no longer needed tampons or pads.

The aforementioned problems which affected the vagina and the vulva are now
sorted due to using YES, but an endometrial cancer diagnosis and total
laparoscopic hysterectomy which removes the ovaries, womb, fallopian tubes and
cervix led to a shortened vagina which makes sex painful. Add to that, post
menopausal vaginal dryness and recurrent UTIs and you don’t have a great recipe
for blissful sex in the twilight years when it should be good with no kids and
approaching retirement! Penetrative sex is just about possible with gallons of
organic lube for both of us! Topical oestrogen and an oestrogen patch help too. Some days are better than others but the sad thing is the loss of spontaneous relaxed and enjoyable love-making. Regular use of a vaginal moisturiser is good for general activity such as walking, cycling and tennis.

How often do you speak to friends, family, your partner about your vagina?

My poor partner is very supportive and also knowledgeable about the issues. My
kids don’t know too much about the detail but I talk to my close friends and try to
encourage them to share any issues because I know how to support and
guide them towards the help they may need from the NHS.

I would like women to talk openly with friends, family, and health professionals
without being embarrassed. Also important, is not just the ability to talk about it
but to know what is normal for you.

What do you dislike about your vagina?

I don’t really dislike anything about it – it is just another part of my body that like
any other has its own problems that are part external (products that irritate) and
partly due to disease.

What do you love about your vagina?

It was the delivery mechanism for three beautiful children.

What would you like to see more of on the Gash Gossip blog?

  • Spreading the word about the best way to maintain a healthy vagina and vulva
    with some real facts and evidence based information warning about products that
    can cause thrush, BV and UTIs due to the wrong PH balance. Campaigning
    for all women to have their regular smear tests and be aware of the signs and
    symptoms of gynaecological cancers.
  • Explaining the difference between a lubricant and a moisturiser.
  • Info on the reasons for vaginal dryness would also be good, as they include:
    the contraceptive pill, diabetes, breast feeding, anxiety and stress, anti-depressants, cancer treatment, Sjögren’s Syndrome, as well as the menopause due
    to the lack of oestrogen.

And if you think you might be able to help shed some light on some of the last pointers, please don’t hesitate to get in contact. I’d love to hear from you. Every minge matters. Period. 

If you are interested in the YES products mentioned in this post, visit the website for more information and all of your intimate, natural, organic product needs! https://www.yesyesyes.org/ 

 

Phwoar, I know, a lot of information hey? 66 years of vagina experience coming at you on this Monday afternoon. Thank you to my wonderful lady for sharing and baring all.

I’ve been struggling a bit to focus on GG. BUT have no fear, it is still brewing like a good Yorkshire Tea. I’ve been listening to podcasts, reading, engaging with other organisations on a similar mission for fannies and I guess just taking my time to gather everything I need to make sure the gossiping continues. Hopefully you’re not bored yet! And as soon as I get internet in my new home I hope to be branching out, spreading the word (and legs) and one day I can sit with Holly and Phil, on their sofa, at 10:30am talking about VAGINAS. That’s the dream anyway.

Lots of pussy positivity to see you through the week, 

Soph x

12/10/2018 

“Even If My Vagina Is Faced With Adversity… She Has Given Me Some Damn Good Times.” – Meet Gemma

I know, can you believe it? I’m like that annoying rash that just won’t go away! I’m sat here uploading another post in the space of a week. I call it: my vagina calling. That’s right. I’ve realised that if there is one thing I can control in my life, it is this little safe haven of brilliant fanny chat. A place where I can come and ironically relax. An excuse to open a packet of biscuits and accidentally inhale the lot. An excuse to stay in my room all day listening to 90’s classics and a good distraction to the swollen lymph-node in my neck that is causing me mahoooosive anxiety.

If only Gash Gossip was a full time job. I wish that every day I could be that stylish, hot to trot ‘blogger’ flitting between trendy coffee shops, sipping on flat white’s, wearing fake glasses that make me look like I know what I’m doing. Out on the streets of London, talking to women of all ages, going into schools, communities, health groups, raising awareness, finally changing the sexual education young women and men receive, walking into the house of commons in just my pants! But alas, I am an out of work actor, manager, box office assistant, nanny and I’m moving house – my time is a bit stretched at the moment. So before I am able to traipse around looking for the best writing spot, in the best cafe and meet with the best ladies to talk about their lady parts, striving to make a difference, I’ve decided to go digital in true millennial style. The power of the almighty internet! Not only can you search your symptoms on Google, you can send emails too. 

I recently created a fancy questionnaire and sent it out to some wonderful women to complete. The hope was that from these I could then create short blog posts about their vagina problems, dilemmas, wants, needs, stories, sex lives etc. And the ladies did not disappoint! We finally have some other stories to tell and share with you all. On that note, I will stop rambling on and let someone else do the talking. 

Meet Gemma.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am now finding it really hard not to just talk about myself in relation to my vagina. I’m
Gemma, I’m 26 (same age as my vagina), I love to travel (always with my vagina), and I
am a charity worker (so many potential jokes not enough time.) Much of my happiness
revolves around cats, books, plants, snacks, rearranging furniture, and licking bowls.
(There is real potential there for people to hear that as “licking balls”… or to read it as
“licking bowels”… Ah I do amuse myself.)

Now is the part you can talk about yourself in relation to your vag! 

My vagina enjoys long walks on the beach, candlelit dinners, open fires, Ryan Gosling
(especially in Blade Runner 2049), and all activities involving coconut oil. Although she
has many good qualities, she is not always a particularly great hostess and will
sometimes outright refuse entry to visitors such as tampons, moon cups, medical
instruments and penises. This is not ideal.

I have endometriosis which is pain in the arse. And vagina. And stomach. I had a
laparoscopy at the start of 2015 and am currently on the waiting list for another one so
the endometrial-like tissue which is growing in all the wrong places can be burned away
with a laser. Fun.

I [also] have a retroverted uterus (which might be contributing towards sexual pain), a cervical ectropion (which might be contributing towards sexual pain), and endometriosis (which most definitely is contributing towards sexual pain plus impacts on what I’m putting in my stomach as well as in my vagina). The biggest impact on a day to day basis is dietary: I have already cut out alcohol and dairy and need to come to terms with the fact that gluten and refined sugar need to go, too. I can’t eat very much at once without being in pain, and I have to stick to fairly strict intermittent fasting to be my best most comfortable self (and to fit in my jeans without a crazy painful bloated tummy.)

Sexually speaking there is an everyday impact too, but not necessarily a negative one.
Sex is rarely pain free, so everyday fierce cuddling and shared showers with my man are
just a couple of ways we make sure we get our intimacy fix in a non-sexual way, in case
sex isn’t an option that day/week/month. I think it has actually made us a better, stronger
team.

Also… big also… the impact that the combination of pain, potential pain, sexual stress,
possible infertility and even just the frequent bloating have on my ability to properly
human is huge. I suffer from anxiety when the endometriosis flares up, which in some
ways can be even more painful than the physical symptoms. Luckily, I’ve had time to
learn how to handle my endometriosis and bad days are less and less frequent, but even
so, I normally have to take at least one or two days off work a month because of the
combination of pain and anxiety. A standard 9-5 office job isn’t really an option for me.

How often do you seek medical advice for your lady parts?

Less frequently since being properly diagnosed with endometriosis, but the process of
diagnosis was so long winded that I now consider myself pals with my doctor and always
ask her how she is before she asks me. This is equal parts heart-warming and heart-
breaking.

What would you like to see change about the way women talk about their vaginas?

I think eventually it would be bloody great if we could all be as in love with our vaginas
as men are with their penises, and have the way we talk about them reflect this positive,
confident outlook.

What do you dislike about your vagina?

Nothing. I think vaginas are pretty great little portals for multiple orgasms not to mention
new freaking humans(!) and even if my vagina is faced with adversity in the form of various medical problems, she has given me some damn good times.

Any final fanny thoughts?

I think it’s SO important that we talk about all the problems around women’s health and remove any stigma around it, but I also think there is a danger of getting sucked into this negative space of thinking “Fuck I wish I were a man”. And men don’t get to grow humans! Men don’t get a clitoris (the only body part designed JUST for pleasure), they don’t get half as many nerve endings as we do, and they don’t get multiple orgasms! Even periods can be thought of as something that connects us to nature – I think latest scientific studies suggest that menstrual cycles don’t actually link to the lunar cycle, but I still think it’s kinda magical that they are almost the same length because it means you can use the phases of the moon to know where you are in your cycle! We get to feel like earth goddesses with a
connection to the universe. We should be feeling sorry for the men!

And on that note, in the words of Arnie, I’ll be back.

Soph x

 

 

There Is A Light At The End of My Tunnel.

Yes ladies, and lads if you’ve managed to stick around, there is a light at the end of my fanny tunnel. Finally people of Gash Gossip, I have some good news to share. Some rather unexpected, good if not slightly ironic news. In short, my pesky CIN 2 cells which were removed a month ago came back from their most recent biopsy as a CIN 1… which technically means I didn’t need to have them removed in the first place. Isn’t in ironic? Don’t you think! I was in the 70%. The 70% of women whose cells will change naturally back to “normal” or “nearly normal”. GO VAGINA!  

To recap:

CIN 1 – it’s unlikely the cells will become cancerous and they may go away on their own; no treatment is needed and you’ll be invited for a cervical screening test in 12 months to check they’ve gone.

CIN 2 – there’s a moderate chance the cells will become cancerous and treatment to remove them is usually recommended.

My little naughty cells must have already changed from a 2 to a 1 whilst I was waiting to have my Loop Excision Treatment so that by the time they were removed during the treatment they didn’t even need to be….. HA HA HA OH LIFE YOU ARE A FUNNY THING! 

It may have been the month from the fire-y depths of hell – copious amounts of blood, numerous mental breakdowns, I’m sure my boyfriend wanted to dump me, some small bouts of depression and I didn’t even need the f****** treatment anyway. BUT! Life is good. I’m lucky and I am so grateful for a piece of good news, at last. It is also helping aid the mind. For the past 6 months I have been thinking my body is failing me, I’m going to die, whereas now I am thinking, my body is a miracle healer! Go you cervix! You do your thaaang you nasty lady! 

The formal letter from the hospital described how I had 12 millimetres worth of cell-age removed, the biopsy showed they were in the CIN 1 category and all other margins were clear, meaning there were no other suspicious cells lurking about. I did some booty shakin’ in my room. And even though I’m slightly peeved I had the treatment done *side eye*, I’ve got to remember that at the time, I needed it and no one could have known for sure that this would be the outcome. Even though I feel like my brain took a bit of a beating this month, the only thing that did keep me going was knowing that I had done right by my body. It was just the other 86% of my brain that went on a short holiday to crazy town. 

However, today, writing this, I feel a lot less crazy. The least cray-cray I have done since this whole debacle started back in October 2017, nearly a year ago… (MAD!) I’ll always bang on about it, but it just shows persistence is key. You know your body, you have the power to get what you want and what your body part in question needs. Even if it takes 10 months. It was so worth it to open that letter and breathe. Breathe properly for the first time in a long time. And also, now I don’t have to completely hate on my fanny. I think we’ll always have a love/hate relationship but now I can get back to loving it rather than crying about it. Crying gets so boring.

I know that a lot of the crying has been my own general anxiety and health anxiety, but I think perhaps we under estimate how our mental health changes in keeping with our physical health. I did a wee bit of reading of other women’s experience with this procedure and a lot of them described feeling depressed, helpless and anxious, some of them were even given anti-depressants as result. It’s true. I fell out of love with myself and my body. I lost my confidence, a sense of myself, I couldn’t be intimate, I felt ugly, bloody, bloated, unworthy, you know, blah blah blah. But now I feel like I can get back to being a bit more me. I can see the light! And I’m hoping all women who are going through this or something similar are able to also find their light at the end of the tunnel. 

The other good thing about this result is that rather than going back for another camera up my chuff and biopsy, I shall be attending my smear and HPV test like everyone else in 6 months time just to double check on everything, so need for another hospital trip. Keeping my fingers, toes and everything else crossed that everything comes back the same or completely “normal”, but if it doesn’t, I know what to expect and I’ll be ready for battle, a little older, wiser and stronger (cringe-y but true.)

Hoping all the rest of you who may be facing your own fanny fights are able to keep in good spirits and maintain some positivity. If you’re not, I feel you babe. Be kind to yourself. Take your time. Eat nice food. Listen to funny podcasts. Get all the cuddles you can. You’re going to be okay. Xxx. 

And now to end this small chapter, to which I’m sure many more will follow, a small letter to my vagina as a conclusion to the last few months.

Dear Vagina, 

Firstly, kudos to you babe. You quite literally have been through the ringer. You’ve had several different people poke, prod, examine and insert foreign objects in to you without putting up a fight. You’ve seen swabs, vegetable peelers, cameras, lights, many a speculum and enough granny pants to sink a battle ship. Yet you remained fairly relaxed and well behaved throughout it all. You also looked as glamorous as you could for all of your appointments and meetings, even when things got tough. 

You have been the stronger one out of the both of us, taking your sweet, sweet time to heal but now I understand why. You were making sure that I would be okay. I won’t forget the mornings where I would stare down into the toilet and think I may be having a major internal bleed or the cramps deep in my pelvis that made me want to vomit everywhere. But I know this was your way of mending and so I forgive you. And most importantly, I thank you. 

I am forever grateful that you told me there was a problem and you kept letting me know. You were persistent. The driving force. The reason why I started this blog in the first place. And now look, your hard work has paid off and we are out of the woods for a little while. 

Lastly, I now wish you the best in your future endeavours. You deserve to be treated, pampered, sexed up and loved. I hope that if we ever face anything else together we will be able to fight it with dignity, humour and lots of extra comfy, slightly scented, sanitary pads. 

Forever yours (we are stuck together unfortunately for you),

Sophie

Now let’s get serious about women’s health.

https://www.stylist.co.uk/long-reads/health-women-doctor-nurse-nhs-cancer-diagnosis-breast-cervical-cancer-smear-test-advice/223525

Ain’t No Hole In My Cervix Gonna Stop Me!

HELLO!

Thanks for coming back. It feels like years since I sat down and wrote a post. Oh god I feel rusty crusty! I don’t get to sit down and type here nearly as much as I would like to. It’s been a roller-coaster couple of weeks and it is only just settling down. I did 10 days straight at my ‘everyday-boring-I-would-rather-be-watching-Greys-Anatomy-or-doing-anything-else-for-that-matter-job’ and then went straight back home to have a vegetable peeler inserted up my chuff (yup!) I then spent 5 days getting my chuff and life back to normal and actually watching Greys Anatomy, which was secretly lovely. AND THEN, I spilt a glass of water on my laptop and it died. SO what I’m trying to say is, please bare with me if it takes me a while to get back into the swing of things or if what I write is all just mind numbingly boring. Let me dust away the cobwebs, take a deep breath, have a sip of my tea…. okay, I’m ready.

Firstly, I must address the fact you probably thought this post was going to be dedicated to someone else’s poor, long suffering vagina. That is what I promised at the end of the last post. SHUT UP ABOUT YOUR OWN FANNY SOPHIE IT IS GETTING A BIT ANNOYING! I know, I’m so sorry. Those 10 days at my everyday job prevented me from having any life, sense of humour or simple brain activity. And since then if I haven’t been serving people stale popcorn, I’ve been going on gentle walks, recovering and eating a lot of fish and chips to bring back that sense of humour. I haven’t been able to pull myself together and schedule to meet with a lovely lady to talk about her ovaries yet. I promise it will be coming soon, just not as soon as I would have liked. But conveniently I have another tale to tell about my own catastrophic cervix (as always). Without further ado, buckle in and prepare for the ride of your life as I take you on a detailed, practically virtual reality experience of my cervix. My cervix that now has a teeny tiny hole in it. YAY.

QUICK RECAP! I opted for the CIN 2 abnormal cells to be removed. Biopsy results showed that I had CIN 2 (moderate abnormal cells) on the entrance of my cervix. I was given the choice to monitor them to see if they return to normal or have them removed. I opted for the latter. Ah, Luton and Dunstable Gynae Clinic, my old friend. I think I’ve marched in and out of your doors enough times to be given my own key. I know the drill. I know the exact time the shutters will open (8:38am usually), I know the floor number, (3) and I know which nurse will be standing waiting for me (the short Irish woman with blue eyeliner). What was different about this time however was that I genuinely had my biggest boots on. The biggest I’ve ever tried on. I was feeling brave, ready and I had done NO crying in the build it up. It was a bloody miracle. I also was going to enter the procedure without my Mum (BFF/vagina buddy/all round babe). No hand holding, no company, just me. 

I shuffled alone into the room with the big, blue, scary chair in the middle, took off my shorts and flip flops (it was the height of the heatwave. Everything was moist. MOIST) and put on that gown that feels as if you are wrapping yourself in sand paper. Thought about taking a selfie, then decided against it. I slid into the seat, my bare bum hanging out of the hole in the bottom and lay back as the chair started to ascend heavenward along with my heart rate. It was time for the treatment. Cue internal screaming. 

Loop Excision Treatment

“The most common treatment is large loop excision of the transformation zone (LLETZ).

Involves removing the abnormal cells using a thin wire loop that’s heated with an electric current. Local anaesthetic is injected into your cervix to numb it during the treatment. 

LLETZ is also called loop diathermy, loop cone, loop biopsy or loop excision.”

I actually got a bit emosh writing down that definition as it required me looking back at my notes and the dreaded internet to make sure I got all the medical facts correct. DO NOT DO IT! I KNOW I KNOW, BAD SOPHIE! Never look at the internet (I’ll never learn). On the internet the words CERVICAL CANCER just scream at me every time I click on a new link. Makes me want to cry. Sometimes when I’m writing or talking about this all, I only see the funny and positive side which is great I suppose. Then on reflection I think about how frightening it actually is/could be. About how the treatment I’ve had doesn’t mean the cells will never grow back. About how I might still have the HPV virus which means more biopsies, colposcopies and treatments. About how developing cervical cancer is still an option. URGH! It sucks when you know something isn’t 100% right. It’s just somewhere in your own body being a nuisance and it makes me sad. 

But, we don’t wallow in self pity over here on Gash Gossip for too long. We put on our gnarly big boots and forget the ifs, buts and maybes. Let’s lighten the mood instead, here is my own definition of the treatment and if I may say, a better one. 

Vegetable Peeler Up Your Chuff Treatment 

“Basically, getting rid of those cells that you just don’t need up there. They might cause havoc, they might not, but tell them to pack their bags anyway because a man in white is coming to scoop them out. 

Cue the vegetable peeler object that vibrates. Although this vibrating object isn’t remotely pleasurable. It looks like something Sylvanian’s would peel their carrots with. Up it goes, cuts out a tiny whole in your cervix where the unwanted cells are, and although you’ve had a vaginal speculum up there for 20 minutes keeping your cervix firmly open, you cannot feel a thing! Bob’s your uncle, it’s all done.”

That’s a bit better. 

The treatment itself is very straightforward, I didn’t need to panic and neither do you gals if you find yourself having one, promise. The longest part of the whole procedure is getting set up. Lights, camera, action, quite literally. I was lying back in the chair, my feet in the stirrups, doctor between my legs with a huge f*** off microscope for 25 minutes before anything had even started. Even with my legs clamped open, I was in quite a pleasant mood, chatting away to my nurse/new mate who had to spend 10 minutes scrubbing moisturiser off my legs. The pad that they put on your thigh to keep you ‘grounded’ whilst the electrical current is zinging through your fanny wouldn’t stick! Warning: do not put moisturiser on before having this treatment. Especially E45. You may think like me that your skin will smell peachy, look lovely in the most unflattering circumstances and make the situation more pleasant for the doctor, but don’t do it. They nearly had to call off my procedure because I’d laid it on Love Island, Dr Alex, Factor 50 thick and the pads wouldn’t stay put.

Once my legs were squeaky clean, the pad was in place and the doctor had adjusted and re-adjusted his camera angle and the light, the sound of the electric peeler began… in it went for 10 seconds and out it came again. MAGIC! All done. That’s it. See you in 6 months. Sorry, what?! After a mini wobble, a shot of orange juice and 3 biscuits I was in the car home already. That was that, or so I thought.

I’m not going to lie to you, the after effects of the procedure are kind of worse than the procedure itself. I started getting stabbing cramps in the car home and my stomach felt like it was made of cling film, delicate but tight. Unfortunately, the side effects didn’t stop there. Here is what I experienced over the next week or so/I’m still experiencing writing this post! Most of it was all on the leaflet I got handed after the procedure and some of it I’ve been finding out for myself. 

NHS leaflet says: 

  • Mild pain, similar to period pain – this should pass in a few hours and can be relieved with paracetamol or ibuprofen
  • Light vaginal bleeding and brown, watery vaginal discharge – this may last up to four weeks
  • No tampons, sex, exercising, swimming, heavy lifting whilst you are still bleeding  (4 weeks)
  • Risk of an infection – this can cause heavy or persistent bleeding, smelly vaginal discharge and persistent tummy pain
  • A slightly increased risk of premature birth (before the 37th week of pregnancy) in future pregnancies – this is more likely if you need repeated treatments or a lot of tissue needs to be removed  

Of course the long term effects of not having the treatment outweigh these short term effects and risks massively. I would rather have stomach cramps. HOWEVER. I feel that if we have a fanny and if that fanny is causing trouble, constantly being poked, prodded and peered at, we can moan just a tiny bit and talk about the irritating symptoms after procedures! 

Sophie says:

  • Constant period pain for 5 days, no break. A little gremlin was jumping up and down on my womb day and night. It twinged when I moved as if someone had taken a scalpel to my insides funnily enough.
  • I did a lot of lying flat. A lot. I felt zapped of any energy, getting up off the sofa was too much effort and it didn’t help that I felt a bit battered and bruised on my insides. 
  • I don’t know about you guys but I can do nothing for a maximum of 5 days and then I’m just restless, bored and want to get moving. For about a week I was still feeling the effects of the treatment, my energy was low and my whole body was having to re-calibrate what was going on. I was constipated, I couldn’t walk very far, I felt highly emotional, light headed and spaced out. It’s pretty crazy that even though this procedure was focusing very specifically on one part of my body, the rest of my organs and bodily functions had a bit of a freak out and a ‘WHAT DID YOU DO TO OUR FRIEND THE CERVIX moment’.
  • This is the grossest bit FYI. I essentially had an open wound up my vajayjay, like any wound, it scabbed over… but this scab falls out. Yep. 1 week later and out it came (which is completely normal but highly disturbing.) Flakes of blood disturbing. This is when I first started experiencing any bleeding. I think I was quite lucky to not have any straight after the procedure but now we’re on week 2, and it’s like “HEY! Didn’t escape me that easily and I’m going to be extra runny and unnecessary.”
  • Soooooooo many panty-liners, pads, tissues and period pants. I can’t get up from sitting down without a little rush. Hopefully this will stop by next week because there’s nothing worse than feeling like you are constantly dribbling. 3 words, loosey-goosey baby! 
  • It is minor surgery, local anaesthetic and so I could have gone back to work the next day which I’m sure a lot of women do (super women). BUT even a couple of days after the procedure I would wake up feeling sluggish and not myself. The last place I wanted to be was work. It is difficult to get the time off if you’re on a 0 hours contract and sick pay doesn’t exist. Also hard for people to take you seriously unless you divulge all the details and say you have a gaping hole on the entrance to your cervix (which is a slight exaggeration). Makes me wonder how women with conditions like endometriosis survive every day life. You girls are my heroes. Period pain is a thing. Endometriosis is a thing. Sore cervix’s and vagina’s are a THING. HAVING CELLS REMOVED IS A THING. Listen to the vagina’s that are saying “No, I cannot come into work today. I’m a mess” and give them the time off they need please and thank you. 

So in short, I now have a tiny hole in my cervix that is taking a while to heal but apart from that.. I feel pretty good. I’m nervous about when I’ll next hear from the clinic but hopefully I’ve managed to jump this little hurdle with no complications, now I just wait for the next one in 6 months. It’s a long race. Mentally and hormonal-ly I’ve been a bit cray-cray. I stopped my period from coming this month on advice from the doctor, more pain and bleeding wouldn’t have helped me recover. But as a result, I’m cray-cray. I’ve also got cabin fever because I can’t do activities yet. I want to go swimming in Hampstead Heath ponds! I want to do some yoga or just any exercise (the fish and chips are piling up already). And I want some sex!! Urgh. Only 2 more weeks to go. 

Anyway, now that I have my mojo back, I hope I’ll be bringing you some more goss very soon. And lots of different types of goss. I want to have a good natter about all sorts. Let’s talk period poverty! Let’s talk moon-cups! Let’s talk vaginal herpes! It’s all relevant. It all matters. Thank you for all your continued messages of love and support. It is the loveliest thing and brightens up my day every time I receive them. Some days I don’t feel brave. Some days I moan, cry and struggle to be an adult about it. Along with all the other crap. But your little messages or even just heart emoji’s give me the boost that I need to snap out of it. I’m doing this not only for my vagina, but for all vaginas. If I can help, offer support and advice, or just tell you what the hell goes on with my genitalia to help your genitalia, well that makes all my trouble worth while. 

Much love and so many heart emoji’s,

Soph x

It’s Not Over Until My Vagina Sings!

It ain’t over until the fat lady sings. Yes that’s right, I’m still waiting for my vagina to open it’s lips and belt out either a bit of Diana Ross, “I’m Coming Out” or Whitney Houston, “I’m Every Woman”. That is when I shall truly know that my vag is okay and this ordeal is over once and for all. However, for the time being it is more like the scene in the Notebook when Noah (*sigh*) and Allie (*double sigh*) are smooching in the rain. Apart from instead of Noah saying to Allie “it was never over, it still isn’t over!” it is my fanny shouting at me. “It’s not over yet b****!” So, the vagina chronicles continue. Cue the opening titles!

Last week was my week of doctor appointments. 2 in a row. Now I know what you’re thinking, 2 is nothing, but in the space of 24 hours, talking all things fanny, well that’s pretty tough for your girl over here. I had to eat a lot of Mum’s Victoria Sponge to calm my nerves. With her by my side, we were back at the hospital at 8am on the Thursday. My hair was especially greasy for the occasion, scraped back into a ‘low pony’ (sxc) and I had the unnerving urge to fart every 20 seconds. Anyone else get uncontrollably gassy when the nerves kick in? Anyway, I was back to see my consultant to discuss the abnormal cell results and decide whether I was going to have the cells removed there and then or wait until October to have another biopsy taken. The nurses were scrubbed up ready to remove some cells with a large side order of sympathetic smiles as I walked into the consultant’s office.

My consultant is a no-sh** no-nonsense kind of guy, he had come prepared with a drawn out diagram to talk me through the results and what would happen next. His diagram looked like this,

Scale 1 - Edited

And placed my cells in between ‘mild’ and ‘moderate’.

But to me it looked like this,

Scale 2 - Edited

And I (obviously) just heard, Your cells are moderate, red alert, red alert, red alert.

He then talked me through the procedure of how they remove the cells. Brace yourself girls, if you’re squeamish, scroll down a bit because it is a pretty unpleasant image. They take a square like wire to the entrance of the womb where the cells are and scrape them off. Effectively, they would take a giant cheese slicer to my insides! This does gets rid of the cells (for now) but in doing so widens the entrance of my womb. The consequences of this could result in miscarriages and early labour when I have my 5 children (I want 5 children. 3 girls, 2 boys.) Knowing that I could be slimming my chances of successfully delivering was quite a big thing for me to hear. Of course, I have to put my health first and pregnancy comes with all sorts of other risks and complications sometimes, but I needed time to digest what had been said before I made a decision. As I’ve said before, the cells are not necessarily progressive, they could return to being normal in time. If I eat lots of broccoli, get 8 hours sleep a night and drink Berocca every morning, right?

I left the consultant’s office, got in the lift and started to cry. The little girl in me who used to be scared of the rain just wanted this all to stop! I wanted the cells to magically disappear into the atmosphere and for my vagina to turn invincible, grow a force field around it and finally sing “I’m Every Woman” at the top of its lungs! Alas, this was wishful thinking. I had a little stomp and a cry, my dad gave me a big bear hug when I got home tear stained and then I was ready to think rationally again. I went to speak to my doctor the next day to ask, “WHAT SHALL I DO BABE?” In fact, I knew what to do. Because ladies, and gents if you’re reading, here’s the crux of the matter. I believe I should have a smear test before deciding whether or not to have the cells removed and here is why…

The cells that are abnormal have changed because I have contracted the HPV virus, however, I don’t know whether I still have the virus in my body. If I do, I should definitely have the cells removed to stop them progressing further, if I don’t, that means my body has fought it off and is 70% more likely to also help the effected cells return to normal over the next couple of months. But the only way to tell whether I have the virus, is it to have a smear. I asked the hospital for one, they said no. I asked my consultant for one, he said no. I asked my doctor for one, she looked up to the heavens, took a deep breath, apologised profusely on behalf of the system and said no too. I would have to wait until I am the right age. I am still not 24 and 6 months, yet have been displaying concerning symptoms for 10 months now. My smear can only be carried out in 3 weeks and then I’d have to wait another 4 weeks for the results. By that time it will almost be October!

I decided that I have done too much waiting, my doctor and I agreed that I should have the cells removed to simply put my mind at rest. Although she agreed with all I had to say about having a smear, she said it was probably better for my brain to have some peace and quiet. Of course there are risks but she assured me that one procedure probably will not make much difference. She believed it was unlikely that my cells would progress from a CIN 2 to a CIN 3 but that it would be better to go ahead and get them out to be on the safe side. Agreed.

So, at the end of July, back I’ll go to the unit I know so well. I’ll put my hospital gown on, ugliest pants, legs in the stirrups and maybe I’ll ask them to play some relaxing whale music as they do some interior renovating to my womb. The procedure itself sounds simple, the area will be anaesthetised and the cheese grater will do it’s job. The aftermath will probably be a little less straightforward, heavy bleeding, cramps, no sex, tampons or baths for 6 weeks and the increased risk of infection. Great! Cannot wait! But hey, I’m being well looked after, I’m looking after my body and I think I’ve made the right decision in the long run. Waiting until October could have been fine but I don’t want to take any chances. Fingers and toes crossed the naughty cells don’t come back (EVER) but if they do I know I’m now in good hands. The Women’s Health Unit at the L&D have got my back and every 6 months the vag and I will take the lift up to the 3rd floor to check that no funny business is going on. One day I hope I can go to the 1st floor instead, the “deliver an ultra cute human” floor. Babies galore floor. I love babies.

Headway is being made, it is a marathon not a race after all but the slower the time it takes to get sorted the more aggressive the war between my brain and I becomes. The doctor did take my blood pressure at the appointment and said it was a little high, but then she noticed my fast heart rate, sweaty palms and the tears filling up in my eye balls, trying desperately not to over spill on to her desk. She knows I’m a lunatic. Every time I go back to the ‘gynae’ ward or step through the door to my GP office I do have to stop myself from completely freaking out (you would think I would be used to the sight of people walking around with blue plastic bags over their shoes by now, but no). This situation has taken a toll on my mental health. It has been a constant niggle for nearly a year and has eaten away some of the fun cells in my brain! I have been trying hard to conquer the demon and have actually found some stuff highly effective and relieving. I’m going to share them with you now.

Top tips for dealing with health anxiety:

  • Firstly and most importantly, speak to someone. I spoke to a mind coach about mine and he worked absolute wonders inside my brain. I think it is important to seek professional help when it starts to encroach on your life. It started off as little worries and has manifested into something quite difficult to shut out. I was also referred to a health anxiety group by the NHS to speak to others who are constantly worrying excessively about their health. I still haven’t plucked up the courage to go to one but just knowing that they’re there helps a little too.
  • Now for some more light hearted tips… Buy yourself flowers! Having flowers in my room always makes me feel lighter and brighter. You don’t need anyone to buy them for you, you go get yourselves some peonies!
  • Grab a friend and go on an early evening walk or plug in a good podcast and go on your own. I recommend The Guilty Feminist and Ctrl Alt Delete with Emma Gannon. My anxiety is often exasperated in the Big Smoke so a trundle to Hampstead Heath or Clissold Park always lifts my mood. Go and see some green and breathe as much fresh air as you can!
  • Yoga, yoga, yoga. There are so many good free videos on YouTube so you don’t even have to stray from your bedroom. Fightmaster Yoga and Yoga with Adrienne are good ones. I haven’t mastered meditation yet, I get too fidgety but find at least 3 minutes of stillness during my yoga practise which helps quieten the anxiety.
  • Treat yourself real nice. Whatever it is, whatever you’re saying “oh I really shouldn’t” to… just do it. Buy yourself that Snickers or the dress in the Oliver Bonas window. A treat a week (or day) is my motto.
  • Try and get out in the sunshine, read a book, do a crossword, write in your notebook, cook, bake, anything to give your other thinking brain a rest.

Top tips for going to the hospital if you’re completely cacking your pants:

  • Take your Mum. Take my Mum if you like, she holds your hand and asks the doctors lots of questions you’ve forgotten to ask. Failing that, take your best mate. I wouldn’t care if I looked a bit bizarre taking in 5 of my friends to have my bits looked at! I’m not too sure how they would feel about it however.
  • Wear breathable clothes. Preferably a top with no sleeves and your comfiest pair of jogging bottoms, the uglier the better. This way you will avoid major sweat patches. I was the sweatiest Betty on the gynaecology ward the first time. I learnt my lesson the hard way (pit stains).
  • Put on the biggest pants you own. Not only metaphorically, but physically. My ‘Colposcopy Pants’ are a faded black, practically translucent, baggy and not even Bridget Jones would pull them out of the drawer, they’re perfect. You can whip them off and on in seconds.
  • Stay hydrated. Hospitals always make me feel like I can’t breathe properly and I get clam-tastically sweaty so I drink a lot of water before my appointment to avoid passing out in the waiting room.
  • Listen to Beyoncé’s “Grown Woman” in the car on the way there. Or any Beyoncé song for that matter. Other good music that makes me feel like the biggest girl boss on the ‘gynae’ ward also includes: “Edge of Seventeen”, Stevie Nicks, “Believe”, Cher, “Piece of Me”, Britney Spears (thank you Rose for this recommendation!) and “Bette Davis Eyes”, Kim Carnes.

In the midst of my appointments I also finished reading “This Is Going To Hurt”, the diaries of a junior doctor by Adam Kay and boy did it help! I couldn’t put it down. Read it in 4 days. Never in a million years did I think I could read a book all about health, and trust me, this is explicit, triple X rated, stuff about health. Kay was a gynaecologist and obstetrician and so reading all of the goings on in other women’s vaginas was extremely eye opening, and sometimes hilarious (there is an incident with a Kinder Egg getting stuck up there as well as a chicken wing!) It provides giggles, gasps of horror, insight into the pressures and stress that the NHS face every day and it lists in detail conditions, procedures, general goings on of the female anatomy, in particular, the almighty vagina. I highly recommend it, especially for those of you who like me, can barely walk passed hospitals without getting the heebie-jeebies. You’ll be confronting your fears on every page.

That’s all for now, thank you for keeping up to date with my ongoing vagina monologue. Even though going to the hospital and receiving results is never an easy process for me, it feels so good to know that I have some of you there in spirit, cheering my name as I open my legs! Your comments on the previous blog have been fantastic, I’m so glad some of you have learnt from another ladies experience. There is plenty more where that came from as another lady is lined up ready to talk to you about her pesky ovaries so watch out for that one!

Sending you bundles of pussy positivity and vagina vibes,

Soph x

“I Know It Sounds Dramatic, But I Thought I Was Dying” – Endometriosis, Jess’s Story

Here she is, the first brave and totally fabulous vagina on Gash Gossip, Jess. *HI JESS* Today ladies, we will be chatting all things Endometriosis. En-do-me-tri-o-sis. What a mouthful. A condition that effects 1 in 10 women in the UK, is the second most common gynaecological condition in the UK and effects 10% of women worldwide, which is a whopping 176 million women. So you know, just a little bit important for women to be aware of. However, the more I’ve raised the topic to my gal pals, I’ve been greeted with quizzical, sometimes blank expressions followed by “Endometri-what now? I’ve never even heard of that!” A lot of women still don’t have a clue what it is or more importantly that they might be suffering from it. It could be playing a big part in young women’s lives during the monthly visit from Aunt Flow, during sex, and some are in crippling pain all the time but “it’s nothing dear, don’t worry about it”. Most woman are told to put it down to ‘bad period pains’ or being ‘stressed’. It is only through friends sharing their stories with me that I have learnt what it is and so today I am going to be your endometriosis godmother and hopefully raise some more awareness. 

 

So Sophie, please enlighten us! What is endometriosis?” Well, my understanding is this: the tissue that lines your uterus grows outside of your uterus and on other organs in that region… NHS.com, am I right? 

“Endometriosis is a condition where the tissue that lines the womb (endometrium) is found outside the womb, such as in the ovaries and fallopian tubes. Endometriosis mainly affects girls and women of childbearing age. It’s less common in women who have been through the menopause. It’s a long-term condition that can have a significant impact on your life, but there are treatments that can help.”

Close enough.

I’m a visual learner and fancy blogger these days and so have inserted a diagram to show where else the endometriosis can grow.

Endometriosis.png

So yeah, it looks and sounds pretty effing awful. Imagine your periods x100.

Now we’ve all been acquainted, let’s get back to Jess because if you’re still trying to get your nut around it and you’re looking for details at a more personal level then you’re in the right place.

How would you describe endometriosis Jess? 

“Um, f***** painful Soph?” 

Right, well we better get started then!

Let us set the scene. Jess is 14. She has a side fringe, blue hair at this point and loves Zac Efron. She’s just started the Big P. The moment in every girls life when they look down at their Spongebob knickers, see a red-brown-ish smear and suddenly they are thrust into woman-hood even though they still wear Spongebob knickers (just me?) Then the monthly dull ache in the pit of the stomach kicks in, followed by a churning sensation and the womb and bowel appear to be doing barrel rolls down a very steep hill again, and again. Horrible!

Here are a few other descriptions of period pain for you, which one most describes yours? Mine is normally a mixture of 1 and 4:

  1. “Imagine your emotions are placed on a keyboard, then someone is slamming their hands on the keyboard. All you want to do is sleep and sit on something soft.”
  2. “Like someone is grinding my insides into liquid and they’re leaking uncontrollably out of my vagina.”
  3. “Like someone glued and duct-taped the inner wall of my uterus and then started violently ripping it off. And on top of that, you have diarrhoea.”
  4. “I want to kill someone.”

But Jess’s are bad, to the point where she is over heating, sweating buckets, constantly pooing, vomiting and passing out, on top of all the other symptoms we know and love. She is missing lessons and spending a lot of time lying on the sofa in the nurses station at school with a hot water bottle strapped to her stomach thinking “how can I go on like this for the next 40 years? For so long everyone told me it was just something that will pass, no one ever really addressed it… maybe because I was an actress everyone thought I was being over dramatic.” 

Jess carried on like this for 4 years, taking days off school, refilling that trusty hot water bottle and curling up in a ball for a week of every month until the pain subsided. At 18 she marched herself to the doctors, pointed at her bits, and said, there is something wrong with me! “HELP!” (Sounds familiar). The doctor listened to her symptoms and suggested she went on the contraceptive pill, Yasmin. “It was supposed to be the good one!” As the doctor ordered, she did, for 2 years. During that time she was in a relationship with a man, so that came in handy and for the first time since getting her period, she wasn’t experiencing pain. IT WAS A MIRACLE! Yeah, but only because she was taking the pill back to back, stopping her periods from actually coming. Jess was, as I am, a firm believer that the female body needs to bleed. It should bleed when it wants to. Every month. I once tried to take the pill back to back and bloody hell, my body went into an absolute meltdown. My emotions had no where to go! I turned into the menstruating monster and vowed never to do that to my womb again. I guess for some women, that is not the answer.

Pressing fast forward on our magical life-remote-control and Jess, 20, has now moved to London, drives a little red car, has better taste in music and is in a same sex-relationship. Therefore, she made the decision to stop filling her body with unnecessary hormone, stop taking the pill and have some periods. Life was good. Jess brought her first sofas and cushions to match but her period pains were back with a vengeance and no remorse. “I was supposed to being going to a friends house and I remember the pain came on suddenly. It was so excruciating that I called 111. I genuinely thought something was seriously wrong with me. I could barely speak down the phone.” Jess crawled back in to bed, took some Co-codamol, closed her eyes and hoped when she woke up the pain would be but a distant memory. Not quite. Her usually reliable painkiller friend couldn’t even muster the strength to defeat the demons stamping in her uterus. It was time to make her first gynaecology appointment, because after some much needed Googling, Jess thought she might have Endometriosis.

Gynaecologist: A valiant, mystical vagina Queen or King who is willing to delve in-between our legs and explore our nether regions for us.

“I came away from that first appointment thinking, oh, I don’t have endometriosis. The gynaecologist had convinced me that I didn’t have it.” Jess had all the obligatory pokes and prods, as well as an ultra sound and internal exam “with a long stick that had lube on the end of it. Horrid. Plus it had been a while since anything that shape had been up there!” The gynaecologist explained to Jess that from what she could see everything looked normal and the scans supported this verdict. But! As often is the case with endometriosis, you cannot see it unless you have a laparoscopy. Only then can you determine whether your lower organs are in fact knee-deep in endometriosis.

Laparoscopy: “A surgical procedure in which a fibre-optic instrument is inserted through the abdominal wall to view the organs in the abdomen or permit small-scale surgery.”

The ‘gynae’ explained to Jess that she didn’t like doing the procedure unless she was 100% sure she was going to find endometriosis and that the best thing for her to do was to monitor it for 6 months or go back on to the pill. The pill was out of the question for Jess who had previously been on Roactuane to get rid of her acne, “I wasn’t going to jeopardise all that time I had spent trying to sort out my skin by pumping more hormones into my body. I was done with pills, hormones, things in my body that shouldn’t be in there! So I thought I should just suck it up and deal with the pain.” Which is what she did.

Cut to now, 2018, and Jess is 23. This is the penultimate chapter and turned out to be the last straw for Jess. A couple of months ago she was halfway through a civilised lunch with her girlfriend when out crawled the evil ‘endo’. “I got really hot, the sweats came over me and I knew I had to get out of the restaurant before something terrible happened. I’d come on my period that morning and I knew instantly what was going to happen.” 20 minutes later, after hailing down an Uber, Jess is throwing up out of the car door in the middle of Piccadilly Circus. “I was close to death. I knew then I had endometriosis and it was time to get my sh** together.”

So finally, we are here in the present day, at the final chapter. Jess has just walked in to Dr Andrew Kent’s office, a specialist in endometriosis. She has described her symptoms and he replies, “you need a laparoscopy. See you in 4 weeks.” Thank god for Dr Andrew Kent. Jess was lucky enough to have private health care on this occasion, so the waiting time for the surgery was short. I am unsure how long the waiting list is on the NHS but I have a friend who is still waiting for surgery and has been since January!

“The day of my surgery came and I was sooooo nervous. I hate needles and I had been watching too much Grey’s Anatomy. I wrote a note in my phone in case I died during the surgery because 0.8% of women do… what if I was that 0.8%?! I wanted people to know that I loved them and what song to play at my funeral. The surgery went well and yes, I did have endometriosis which has now been removed. I’m left with a scar in my belly button, one just above where my pubes start and the other to the left hand side, forming a little triangle. I am pain free for now and so happy I pushed for the surgery. Push for that laparoscopy is my one piece of advice! Because when you know, you just know.”

Jess was right to persist. WE KNOW OUR BODIES! Her right ovary was tucked in on itself due to the swelling that endometriosis creates and had got stuck to the side of her uterus – no wonder she was f****** vomiting in the middle of Piccadilly! She also had traces of endometriosis next to her bowel which would explain her IBS like symptoms.

Here is the formal post operation notes that she received:

She has a deep nodule of endometriosis involving the insertion of the left uterosacral ligament and her right ovary was firmly adherent to the side wall, possibly due to endometriosis. All adhesions were divided and the endometriosis excised with the Harmonic ACE.

(Jess and I had to Google most of these words too! E.g the uterosacral ligament.)

Jess is, for the time being, endometriosis free. Unfortunately it can grow back, in a couple of months, a year, 3 years. Until then Jess is enjoying life off of Co-codamol and relaxing at sweat free lunches with her girlfriend. She has had her first post-op period and she didn’t have the unnerving urge to poo or faint! Yay! It is down to her persistence, strength and knowing her own body that she is better. The more I delve into women’s health, the more evident it is becoming that we women have to take initiative when it comes to solving the problem.

As with most things, endometriosis probably has a whole host of symptoms and side effects which are different depending on the person. Every vagina is different and therefore so is every story. I would love to hear from more of you who, like Jess, have suffered with the condition or think maybe you might be. Jess’s symptoms mainly occurred whilst on her period, however I am aware that some women live in constant pain caused by endometriosis whether they are bleeding or not. Hats off to you all. You’re amazing.

 

For more information on the topic, I am directing you below to some excellent content that helped me understand the condition better too. I am not an expert, I’m just a vagina keeno (weirdo), I want to know all there is to know, spread the word and help raise awareness for vagina related issues. By vagina I also mean all of the female organs. It is all related, the vagina is our way through to discovery and knowing what is actually going on up there!

1. “The Lemonade Lab”(lemonadelaboratory.com AKA one of my oldest friends Gemma). My surrogate sister from the age of 4 and the woman I go to for all my vagina advice, sex tips, cake porn and general musings over her pretty Instagram and Pinterest. She gives some great tips for surviving endometriosis, specifically sex with endometriosis amongst other good, honest ‘endo’ chat.

2. “Oh my fucking blog” on Facebook. Her post about endometriosis is raw but totally brilliant. Her story is heart-breaking but she comes at it with such force you’re doing nothing but wanting to punch the air for her by the end of it! 

3. BBC Video’s that can be found on YouTube:

‘Menopause at 22’ – BBC The Social 

‘What Painful Sex Feels Like’ – BBC Three 

‘How endometriosis changed my life’ – BBC Stories 

As always, tell me your thoughts, feelings, inner workings of your brain and all your vagina needs, wants and mishaps! I love hearing about them as much as I love talking about them. Never be afraid of getting the answers you deserve and don’t settle until you are and your vag are happy.

Show your vaginas some extra love this week, Gemma from the Lemonade Lab recommends putting some coconut oil down there. Mmm moisturising and delicious!

Soph x