Woman With Endometriosis Constantly Mistaken For Being Pregnant
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Grace Moon, 24, from Birmingham, has been suffering with the painful condition - in which tissue similar to the lining of the womb starts to grow in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes - since she was just 16, although she was only diagnosed at the age of 21.
Due to severe bloating, Grace says strangers often assume she is pregnant - which is particularly heartbreaking, because Grace and partner Joshua have been told they may struggle to conceive.
"People see a bump as a joyful thing and just want to see congratulations but it hurts," said Grace.
"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 let it go over my head and people usually apologise but I do want to tell them 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."
Doctors have advised Grace to try for a baby sooner rather than later, due to the condition. Deciding they weren't ready for a baby, she and Joshua decided to take the risk and wait.
"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, with symptoms including heavy and painful periods, migraines, chronic fatigue, constipation and pelvic pain.
The condition can be excruciatingly painful, and Grace has been forced to take months off work as a trainee nurse, and has also been taking morphine daily.
She also takes menopause medication and two years ago, considered having a hysterectomy.
"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."