Women's endometriosis symptoms make people think she's pregnant

A woman from Birmingham says that strangers constantly ask if she’s pregnant due to severe bloating caused by endometriosis.

Grace Moon, 24, has endometriosis, a condition in which tissue similar to the lining of the womb starts to grow in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes.

It causes the trainee nurse to have a ‘pregnant-looking stomach,’ which particularly upsets Grace as her condition means she may never be able to have children.

She said: ‘People see a bump as a joyful thing and just want to say congratulations but it hurts. People always ask if I’m pregnant because of the bloating.

‘I’m normally a size 12-14 but when I’m bloated, I have to wear a 16-18 and it really knocks my confidence.

‘I used to work in a pharmacy and people would ask when the baby is due on a daily basis.

‘It just rubs salt in the wound but I would look like I was ready to pop.

‘I’d explain it’s part of my condition and try to let it go over my head and people usually apologise but I do want to tell them that it’s insensitive.

‘It’s heartbreaking and painful because I’ve always wanted a family. I don’t know if I can conceive.

‘I might be able to get pregnant and not be able to carry the baby.’

Grace has suffered symptoms since the age of 16, but endometriosis is notoriously underdiagnosed and it often takes years until a diagnosis is given.

At the age of 21 she firmly knew of her condition and was warned by doctors to have a baby before it was too late.

She and engineer partner, Joshua, 25, weren’t ready for a baby and chose to wait, but Grace is willing to try anything to have a baby, including IVF, surrogacy and adoption.

She said: ‘When I was diagnosed, at every appointment, I was advised to have a baby because it could be my only chance and the longer I waited, the worse it would get.

‘I didn’t want a baby at 21, I wanted to get my health sorted.

‘My partner already has a child which makes it easier but we would like to have a baby together.

‘When we met, the first thing I did was explain my condition to him to make sure he wanted to stay with me.

‘We know it might not happen and its made both of us scratch our heads and think about whether we should try for a baby when we aren’t ready.

‘My friends are amazing and have offered to be surrogates. I would do anything.’

Endometriosis affects one in 10 women in the UK and the symptoms can be vast, ranging from migraines, bladder retention, chronic fatigue, heavy periods and severe constipation.

The condition can be agonising – Grace has been forced to take months off work as a trainee nurse and is taking morphine daily.

She also takes menopause medication to ease the symptoms and two years ago, Grace considered having a hysterectomy.

Grace said: ‘It started with severe bloating, nausea and I would pass out.

‘I became anaemic because I lost so much blood, I had symptoms of IBS and I was in excruciating pain.

‘The symptoms weren’t just during my cycle, they were constant.

‘I had some of the endometriosis lasered off and I’m on menopause treatment which shuts down your reproductive system.

‘It’s basically like I’m going through the menopause at 24. Doctors just don’t seem to know a lot about it and that makes you think it’s all in your head and you just feel crazy.

‘It took years for me to get a diagnosis because the condition is rarely heard of.’

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