A WOMAN who lives in Haydon Bridge is sharing her experience of living with endometriosis in the hope it will help other women suffering from the condition know they are not alone.

Charlotte Hornby (31) and 11 other women from around the UK have come together to release a book, with each sharing their different stories.

Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the womb grows in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes, and it is thought to affect 1 in 10 women.

According to the NHS, symptoms can vary, but can include pelvic pain, period pain that stops you doing your normal activities, heavy periods, pain during or after sex, and difficulty getting pregnant.

For Charlotte, her symptoms began when she started her periods at the age of 14, but they became more debilitating. 

"I went through the process of being told I had kidney stones, IBS, urine infections," she said.

After trying different medications, she eventually underwent a laparoscopy which confirmed a diagnosis of endometriosis.

During the laparoscopy, various procedures can be performed to try and destroy or remove the endometriosis tissue.

Although the surgery can relieve symptoms, problems can recur, the NHS says.

Symptoms for the mum-of-two did ease until after she had her second son nearly seven years ago.

"Five months after I had him I started with pain and excessive amounts of bleeding to the point where I couldn't do anything, I couldn't go anywhere," she said.

Charlotte writes about feeling dismissed and not listened to by many of the healthcare professionals she saw.

Eventually she had an MRI scan, which showed that at this point she had stage 4 endometriosis.

She was on a waiting list for NHS surgery for nearly two years.

"Luckily for me, and not many people have that option, my dad has private health insurance and he added me to it," she said.

"I had to wait six months of being with them before I could claim, and at that point, in July last year, I rang them up and within 3 weeks I'd had my surgery.

"I ended up having to have a full hysterectomy at the age of 31 because that was the only option for me which was going to give me the best potential outcome long-term. There is the potential it could come back.

"I'm now on HRT for pretty much the rest of my life but it means that I get to have a decent quality of life for my kids.

"I was living in bed all the time, I had no quality of life at all for the last five years. So that was the best option, but it shouldn't be the only option and that's the problem.

"That's what we're fighting for, it to be more looked into."

Charlotte said: "We're talking five years of me fighting to get surgery. The process is ridiculous and the waiting times are unreal."

On average it takes eight years from onset of symptoms to get a diagnosis of endometriosis, according to the charity Endometriosis UK.

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The book, which will be released in March to correlate with Endometriosis Awareness Month, has been published by Lucky Penny Creations, which is owned by one of the authors.

All proceeds from 'Hear us roar!' will go directly to Endometriosis UK.

"It's to show other women going through the same thing that we are all in the same boat and that you are not alone because it's very isolating," said Charlotte.

"Unless you know someone who has got it, they'll never understand the pain you're in.

"It's so much more than a 'bad period'."

The book will be available on Amazon and Charlotte hopes those interested will also be able to buy it from local bookshops.