Bachelor of Health Science (Naturopathy)
Personal health experience:
Endometriosis, period pain, the pill, endo surgery, irregular periods, gut health.
Mondays – 1-6pm
Get to know me
Taking Panadol and Nurofen with every period was all I ever knew in high school. You’d also find me wrapping myself in those stick-on warmers.
So straight out of high school I went on the pill. I can’t remember why, probably a combination of contraception and to ‘regulate my hormones’. My periods were 30-35 days (so on the longer side but still regular), my PMS was moderate and my period pain was moderate to severe.
On the pill I was moody & depressive. My boobs were so sore all the time. I had to cancel work when my period came due to the pain. Over-the-counter painkillers no longer scratched the surface. The pain killers from the GP gave me many side effects but still took 70-80% of the pain away.
After 6-9 months I decided to come off the pill which was when I realised the pill had masked my symptoms. Post-pill my cycles were anywhere from 6-10 weeks long, I had PMS symptoms the entire length of my cycle, and the pain was indescribable.
When I was in pain, I just wanted to die.
The painkillers don’t work, yet you know a trip to the hospital will mean sitting in the waiting room for hours.
The first 12 months post-pill were the toughest period-wise. I overdosed on painkillers consistently. I used to tie my heat packs to me.
I was depressed, anxious and unreliable at work (which I felt so much guilt about). It affected my relationships, my social life (I couldn’t make set plans), my ability to be a good friend/sister/daughter/partner/colleague. It was 10% about the pain, 90% about the flow-on effects of it. I spent many nights curled on the kitchen floor crying waiting for my heatpacks to warm up. I hardly slept due to the pain, and I used to change every two` hours during the night. In June, 2017 (six months into my Naturopathy degree) I decided I’d had enough and booked into see a Naturopath. Before our appointment, I went to a GP to describe my symptoms and see what tests she recommended getting done (so I could then take my results to my Nat).
Looking back, that GP appointment really shaped the way I saw my period pain. She disregarded my symptoms, told me to take my painkillers (and more of them) in the days leading up to my period (I had explained I had very irregular cycles and had no clue when my period would arrive), and said “you’re too young for anything to be wrong” and “natural therapies don’t always work”.
Safe to say, I literally got up out of my chair having a panic attack and walked out mid-appointment. I didn’t care that she wouldn’t order tests for me, dismissed natural therapies, or thought I should take more painkillers.
NONE of that mattered. But what did matter was that pain is invisible. No one can see it.
You already question your own self if you should just ‘get over it’ or ‘is it as bad as it seems’. Then to have someone disregard your pain. It’s damaging when you’re already hard on yourself.
With this said, GPs are amazing and I have full respect for what they do. Just like any profession, there’ll be those who need to change.
My Naturopath was amazing. She became one of my biggest support people. She referred me to GPs she worked closely with. She listened, she affirmed my situation and she never once made me feel like I was making it up. Initially we decided to start simple with period pain, PMS, and regulating cycles while we investigated any secondary causes of the pain. We spoke about the possibility of endo as, at that point, a few of my symptoms matched, and decided that if I didn’t respond to treatment within three months (a common time frame for period treatments due to it taking around 100 days for follicles to mature in the ovaries) we would reconsider and re-evaluate.
Within six months, I was a changed human. I was PMS free (what a feeling), my cycles were REGULAR, and I experienced my first ever almost pain-free cycle. Looking back, this was both a blessing and a curse as when the period pain returned after two cycles and we couldn’t get it un`der control after 12 more months of treatment, we never reconsidered anything else going on. Because we had initially had such amazing results, it took us a long time to think we should delve deeper.
The next two years involved a LOT of tears, frustration, and a lot of anxiety about when the pain would come. The pain never returned to the extent it was when I lived in Perth, but the last 30% was difficult to budge. In the end, a combination of acupuncture and naturopathy was the only thing that made me at least able to function on pain killers.
Finally, after nine months of procrastination, I found ‘advanced trained excision surgeon in endometriosis’ Dr Yadav (WA) and had my official diagnosis.
The changes that came after my surgery I didn’t expect. My whole body fatigue was gone, my cramps changed, the pain leading up to my period had gone, and I had no more painful bowel motions or pain on sitting.
Upon reflection, at the peak of my endo journey, I felt alone, isolated & confused as to where to turn next. Now as a naturopath it’s my mission to make sure nobody else feels that way. I love being that person for people; guiding them through the medical system, telling them their symptoms ARE real.
When people feel heard, that’s when true transformation happens.
And who am I outside of practice?
- I love hiking and yoga
- Choc chip cookies are my weakness
- I have a thing for patterned socks. From echidnas to avocados, bananas to flamingos! It always brightens everyone’s day who sees them.
- I can rap all of the lyrics to Ice Ice Baby