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Freya’s story: “Every time I would get a period, I couldn't move”

Freya suffered with irregular periods and pelvic pain for years. But after her sister’s diagnosis with endometriosis, Freya pursued her own.

Photo of two young white woman in black and white in front of many words describing periods such as painful, flooding

Here, Freya shares her story as part of our “Just a Period” campaign.

I had my first period when I was 11. Other than it being quite early, I don't remember it being anything too dramatic or heavy. I was lucky to have my older sister Niamh as support. We have gone on a journey together with our periods and endometriosis.

When I was 13, I noticed that my periods were happening every 3-4 months, and they would last 2-3 weeks. They were so heavy.

I distinctly remember a time when I stood up in a lesson and had to immediately sit back down. I had leaked through my skirt onto the chair. It was the most embarrassing thing I ever experienced as a teenager.

I had leaked through my skirt onto the chair. It was the most embarrassing thing I ever experienced as a teenager."

My body just felt fragile, especially my pelvic region. I didn't really say anything, to anyone. It was like a constant humming in the background.

When I was 15, I went to the doctors and said to them, ‘I have this pelvic pain, my periods are not regular, I'm getting them like every few months and I just have no cycle or anything.’

The appointment was not helpful. I thought that as I was being dismissed, I was obviously fine.

I carried on, but I was still in pain and I was going into college every day and feeling like a zombie, feeling like it was such an effort to string a sentence together.

It got progressively worse. In my first year of university, every time I would get a period, I couldn't move. I would be in bed for three days. I did not have any energy to shower or even get up. I was in so much pain, especially pelvic pain. I also had severe bloating so I looked pregnant!

A young white women showing her bloated stomach

I would be in bed for three days. I did not have any energy to shower or even get up. I was in so much pain, especially pelvic pain.”

I kept thinking, ‘this is not ok’.

I went to the doctor, but after that examination I flared up. I ended up bleeding every day for six months straight. I had more appointments and at this point, I was told that I was anaemic and that I had cervical ectropion.

The bleeding continued, so I was referred for two ultrasounds, a transvaginal ultrasound and a normal one. But I was only given the normal ultrasound, and they didn't find anything.

When I was 19, I started doing my own research about intolerances and period pain. I went back to the doctor and was told that I had irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). I enquired about my pelvic pain and was dismissed.

What about my pelvic pain?”

I was advised to go on the pill, but that was for contraceptive purposes. I didn't know at the time that it could have been used to help with the period and pelvic pain I was suffering with.

Then the first lockdown occurred, and I moved back home. I got to spend more time with my older sister Niamh, who was experiencing a flare up. She educated me more and more on endometriosis, whilst waiting for her appointment for a laparoscopy.

I would tell her about my symptoms, and she'd say, ‘I think you have endometriosis’.

I owe a lot of my care to my sister because she was really the whizz behind pushing me to see an endometriosis specialist. When I went to see the specialist, I went prepared with diary entries. I had written everything down.

Photo of two young white women standing closely together

During the appointment, I listed my symptoms; irregular periods, bloating and pelvic pain. The doctor said to me, ‘do you not think you should have rung me before today? Do you not realise that you have endometriosis? Your sister has it. Your mum probably had it, it is genetic’.

I was booked in for a laparoscopy. Endometriosis was found in my pelvic region, on my bowel and my pouch of Douglas. I was also given a Mirena coil and contraception.

After my laparoscopy in August 2020, I felt amazing. I was able to work out a lot, sleeping better, my bowel movement was better, and my bloating was significantly less.

I also had more energy to put back into myself in terms or diet and overall wellbeing.

I decided to come off my contraceptive pill in summer 2021, as I was experiencing side effects. I felt really numb with my emotions or I was really emotional all the time.

It was also really important to me to have a regular cycle.

Since 2021 I have gained my cycle back through cycle syncing and continuing my own research.

It meant so much to me to get my cycle back, because I never had one.

Now, I’m trying to advocate for people, because you should be taught about these things. 

In August 2020, my sister and I had started our Instagram account @thoseendosisters. It is a place to share our story and find our endo community.

Photo of two young white women standing closely together

Freya is also taking on the London Marathon for Wellbeing of Women in 2024. Find out how you can support her, by visiting her fundraising page.

A young white women sitting down outside in running gear - a pink top and black hat and black shorts

If you can relate to Freya’s story, you could have a medical condition that needs treatment. Always see your doctor if you have any concerns.

Find more information and advice in our periods information hub.