Natasha’s story: ‘I want to take the taboo out of discussing women’s health’

In 2020, Natasha Still started The Walking Women to process difficulties she was facing with her gynaecological health and to increase awareness while raising money for Wellbeing of Women. Here she discusses her next challenge for 2022 – Miles for May!

by Natasha Still | 1st Apr 2022

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Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I am 33 years old, live in Manchester and work as Head of Service Performance, Quality and Standards at the Money and Pensions Service. I have always loved walking, particularly with my partner Mike and our dog Dora! We love exploring new places and spending a weekend walking around our local area.

Can you tell us about your health and the challenges you have faced?

In early 2018, I started to experience pain, discomfort, abnormal bleeding and stress incontinence. I was a few months away from my 30th birthday, working a busy job and trying to maintain a relatively normal life. It was stressful, embarrassing and uncomfortable.

Over a year later, after 18 appointments and numerous scans, I was diagnosed with deep infiltrating endometriosis and a urethral diverticulum, where a pouch forms on the wall of the urethra that can fill with urine, leading to infections. Through the help of two private consultants at North West Gynaecology, I had surgery at St Mary's Hospital in December 2019. I am currently awaiting another MRI as unfortunately the same symptoms have now returned. We will see if another round of surgery is required.

During my initial treatment it was confirmed that my anti-mullerian hormone level – which is used to assess egg count – was really low for someone of my age and that social egg freezing would be required to increase my chances of having children.

I am coming to the end of my second round of egg freezing and will be going in for my egg collection tomorrow. My first round was successful and we were able to freeze 11 eggs. I am keeping everything crossed for round two.

What is your next challenge and how did you come up with the idea?

I created The Walking Women in 2020 having spent a large amount of time during lockdown walking and talking with my sister, family and friends. Walking provided me with a routine and time to process some of the challenges I was facing with my health. I wanted to increase awareness of women’s health conditions and take the taboo out of talking openly about how we are feeling.

We had our first walking weekend in March 2021, and we set out with the aim of raising money for charity whilst having fun and talking to each other. We initially wanted to walk 1,000 miles over 3 days and raise £1,000. However, with the help of lots of family and friends, 50 men and women across the UK walked 1,198 miles in three days, with a total of 430 hours spent out walking. We raised £4,645 for Wellbeing of Women.

This year we would love to achieve this again – but on an even bigger scale. Miles for May will allow people to walk and talk about female health whilst raising money for a great charity.

Natasha and her partner Mike

Why have you picked Wellbeing of Women?

I discovered Wellbeing of Women through my aunt, Debbie White, who is also one of the trustees of the charity. She put me in touch with the fundraising team who have been hugely supportive in what we have been trying to achieve.

I have really struggled to find support for my conditions and have paid a lot of money for private treatment. Thankfully I am fortunate to be able to pay for it but there are many women who can’t and we need to raise awareness of that. The charity is really focused on raising awareness through education and advocacy and trying to find cures for these female health conditions, which affect so many of us.

For National Walking Month, join Natasha’s Miles for May challenge and raise vital funds for women’s health.