Woman Claims Heavy Periods From Endometriosis 'Ruined' Her Sex Life And Bloat Made Her Look Pregnant
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Arielle Fox, 28, says her period bloat means she is regularly offered seats on public transport from those who think she's expecting, and the bleeding also makes sex with her fiancé Joe Campbell, 31, too painful to bare.
"I'm usually really skinny but if I go on public transport when I have a flare up people will offer me seats on trains and buses because they think I'm pregnant," she says.
"It's nice to an extent because usually I need to sit down because I'm in a lot of pain but it's really awkward as well.
"I'll awkwardly just take it and sit down, but I always check there's no-one obviously pregnant who needs it."
The former OnlyFans star suffers from chronic condition endometriosis - where cells grow outside the uterus and attach to organs such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes and bladder.
In addition, Arielle also believes she has adenomyosis, where cells grow within the walls of the uterus causing heavy bleeding each month.
Arielle has endured years of trips to the GP and hospitals where she's been offered different types of contraception to lessen the debilitating symptoms and even morphine to tackle the pain.
After undergoing two lots of laser surgery, the animal charity social media manager is took matters into her own hands and set up a GoFundMe page to undergo a hysterectomy and 'get her life back'.
The social media influencer, from Crawley, Sussex, said: "My periods are ruining my life. I would beg the specialists to take my womb out but they said I'd need to try every other option [first].
"I've wanted one for years because I know it's going to give me some relief.
"I know it's not going to cure my endometriosis but it will cure the adenomyosis and it's guaranteed to help me with my periods."
Discussing the intense bleeding and pain she has to go through, Arielle adds: "Me and my fiancé compare it to The Shining when they open the doors, it's pretty horrific but it feels like the right term for how I am when I'm on my period.
"I suffer from stabbing pains in my womb, stretching pain on my stomach and my bladder also feels like it's being crushed so I need to go to the toilet a hell of a lot.
"I also get a sharp, shooting pain down my inner thighs too, it feels so weird. It feels like my whole womb is just trying to leave my body.
"I feel sorry for Joe because he has to do pretty much everything for me when I'm having a flare-up and obviously after surgery, too. He's so understanding."
The conditions haven't just affected Arielle's personal life, but also impacted on her professional career.
Mental health and chronic illness advocate Arielle has been forced to step away from her fashion and beauty modelling career due to her illness.
Arielle says: "I did quite a lot of fashion and beauty modelling but I had to stop doing that because I was so ill.
"I had my first laser surgery at 22 and another one two years later, the recovery time for it is horrific.
"I'm coming to the point where I desperately need another one and I feel I can't do it again.
"It doesn't help that my symptoms instantly come back, the only way to get rid of the symptoms is to remove the womb."
She adds: "I stopped doing OnlyFans, which I did for three months earlier this year, because I've become too ill.
"I shared loads of lovely images from my modelling, tasteful arty pictures or underwear shots for brands, and made some decent money from it.
"We managed to pay off our car so it was quite a good avenue but because I'm so ill all the time I don't have the drive to keep it up on a regular basis."
Arielle has suffered with excruciating pain and heavy bleeding since she started her periods at the age of 12 - one of the first in her school year - and was eventually put on 'the pill' in an attempt to soothe the pain.
However, it was to no avail.
"It was just backwards and forwards trying different pills and different types of contraception, and being told to take ibuprofen and paracetamol but it wasn't touching the pain at all.
She reflects: "I realised things weren't normal when I saw my friends didn't have the same symptoms as me and were still able to do stuff, like go swimming while on their period, which was unheard of to me.
"When I got a bit older and read stuff about having period sex, I remember thinking it's not something I'd ever want to do because I'm always in way too much pain.
"Even throughout a normal day sex is painful, so when I'm on my period and I'm gushing disgusting amounts I can just never think of doing anything like that.
"I quite often don't feel like it because I know it's going to be painful and I'm going to hurt for a couple of days after too."
The former model hit her Go Fund Me target on December 14th - fundraising £10,000 to have a hysterectomy done privately - and has now pledged to donate any further money to charity Endometriosis UK, so she can support vital research.
Arielle says: "I was having a horrific flare up recently and I thought 'I just can't do this anymore'.
"I want to make this surgery my last one, have everything taken out, have all my current endo removed at the same time and start a fresh slate and hopefully get some of my years back.
"I don't want to get to 40, look back and wish I'd done it ages ago.
"Me and my fiance had a long conversation about it, he said one day he'd like kids but would be happy to adopt.
"I feel very lucky to have such a supportive partner."
Arielle plans to have her uterus and cervix removed but leave her ovaries, preventing her going into menopause.
She says: "I'm choosing to keep my ovaries, and have my womb and my cervix removed, which minimises the risk of cervical cancer.
"I'm not scared at all, I'm almost excited. I know it's going to help me somehow no matter what.
"Having a hysterectomy isn't a cure for endometriosis, but even if it just helps my periods, it's life-changing.
"It will give me my life back, I can act like a young girl in my twenties and get my youth back."
You can donate to Arielle's page here.