After months of chronic pain, Shanya Lovell-Jeffers was diagnosed with endometriosis and now wants to help others better understand the condition and the impact it can have on a person’s life.
Endometriosis is caused when tissue that behaves like the lining of the womb is found elsewhere in the body, and can be characterised by a combination of heavy periods, pain in the lower abdomen or back, fertility problems and a lack of energy or depression.
‘It has an impact on both my school and social life,’ explains 17-year-old Shanya from Birmingham.
‘I’ve had to miss days of school and I haven’t been able to go out with friends because I’ve been in pain.
‘I want to take part in sports but I’m physically restricted. People don’t understand why I can’t do the things they do because they don’t know how bad it is.
‘I feel that doctors don’t always take it seriously as they just prescribe tablets to stop the pain instead of diagnosing.
'You often have to demand to find out the cause.’
With Fixers, Shanya has helped create a podcast, where she shares her experiences of the condition, its symptoms and treatments, and discusses the topic further with gynaecological experts.
Listen to Shanya's podcast, 'What is Endo' by clicking play below.
‘This podcast will be really good to inspire those who are going through endometriosis and to encourage them,’ Shanya says.
‘If I’d have seen a project like this before I was diagnosed, I could have coped better.'
Shanya is particularly keen to raise awareness of the condition among teenagers and hopes to increase understanding and sympathy for those with endometriosis.
‘I feel good because this campaign gives a lot of information to those who may not know much about it,’ she adds.
‘I think I’ve achieved that aim.’
For more information and advice relating to endometriosis, visit endometriosis-uk.org, nhs.uk, or shetrust.org.uk
This project is supported by the Youth Social Action Fund (YSAF).
To find other resources on this topic, and watch Fixers films, click on the image below.