A woman has revealed how doctors advised her not to undergo a hysterectomy “in case she later stops being a lesbian and wants children”.
Rachel Champ, 27, a County Meath sales agent, began suffering from severe menstrual pains at the age of 10 and has tried multiple birth control methods, medications, and surgery over the years to manage the problem.
However, she decided to seek further help after the pain became daily and chronic, and went to a doctor’s appointment at a Dublin hospital.
Speaking to The Times, Rachel said she was stunned that a hysterectomy was refused and that she was told by a counselor: “I don’t want you to regret if your life circumstances change, [for example] your sexual orientation changes and you leave your partner and you meet someone else and he wants children.’
Rachel Champ, 27, a County Meath sales agent, has revealed how doctors advised her not to undergo a hysterectomy ‘in case she later quits being a lesbian and wants children’ (pictured left, with wife Karen)
Rachel, who married wife Karen in July, visited a doctor at a Dublin hospital last month to discuss a possible treatment for her unbearable periods
Speaking to Buzzfeed, Rachel explained that her periods were always incredibly painful.
She said, “I vividly remember getting my first period and curling up in a fetal position in a ball on my bed, crying in pain.
“This became a new routine for me every month.”
However, she revealed that doctors “written it off” as “bad periods” and that she was given a range of different medications in an effort to manage the pain.
Rachel explained that her period had always been unbearable and the pain had started when she was only 10 years old
It wasn’t until she had her first Pap smear when she was 25 that a female doctor told her it was “not normal” to be in so much pain every month.
WHAT IS ENDOMETRISIS?
Endometriosis occurs when cells in the lining of the uterus are found elsewhere in the body.
Each month, these cells react in the same way as those in the womb; build up, break down and bleed. Yet there is no way the blood can escape the body.
Symptoms include pain, heavy periods and fatigue, as well as a higher risk of infertility and bowel and bladder problems.
The cause is unknown, but may be genetic, related to immune system problems or exposure to chemicals.
Treatment is aimed at pain relief and quality of life improvement, which may include surgery or hormone treatment.
Source: Endometriosis UK
Rachel was referred to a gynecologist for the first time, and after more testing it was confirmed she had multiple cysts on both ovaries, including one that appeared to be endometriosis.
Post to Twitter she wrote: ‘I’ve had two surgeries (1 with ovarian drilling), tried three different birth control pills, the Mirena IUD, and tried all combinations of painkillers. Nothing helped.’
At this stage, she now suffered daily chronic pain, which she said was unable to walk and attend work events.
Earlier this month, she attended an appointment with Karen at a Dublin hospital to discuss her options.
After first speaking with a female doctor, the consultant was ushered into the room.
Rachel explained that she was aware of the risks of a hysterectomy but was interested in the surgery because the pain had become so difficult to manage.
Meanwhile, she also revealed that she and Karen are pursuing adoption as a possible way to have children.
She claimed he told her he would not perform the hysterectomy because her judgment was currently “clouded by the pain.”
She added: “It’s important to mention that he gave me no medical reason why I couldn’t have a hysterectomy.
“He told me it’s not an option because I’m too young, the pain I’m having is clouding my judgment and my life circumstances may change. No medical reason why it’s not an option.’
She said she was shocked and added: “My sexual orientation doesn’t change. That won’t happen – I’m 27 and married.’
During the meeting, Rachel also revealed that she and Karen are pursuing adoption as a possible way to have children
Instead, she was advised to try new birth control for six months.
Rachel now has an appointment with a specialist in London later this month and has complained to the hospital about what happened.
She still has debilitating pain and says she often can’t walk or “stand up” because of the severity.
After sharing her story on Twitter last month, her posts quickly went viral, with hundreds of women responding quickly.
After sharing her story on Twitter last month, her posts quickly went viral, with hundreds of women responding quickly
One said, ‘Yeah, I’ve been told that. I already had 3 kids and I was single and they said what if you meet someone who wants kids?
“I replied that we can adopt, but why does an imaginary man have more to say about my body than I do?”
Another wrote: ‘I was refused because I might want children. I started researching because I didn’t get pregnant – untreated endometriosis made me infertile, which they found through those studies.
“So they won’t do it if I want to get pregnant, but I can’t get pregnant.”
After the post went viral on Twitter, many women were quick to share their own stories of talking to doctors about their period pain
WHAT IS A HYSTERECTOMY?
A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure to remove a woman’s uterus.
There are three types:
- PARTIAL HYSTERECTOMY: Removes two-thirds of the uterus.
- TOTAL HYSTERECTOMY: Removes uterus and cervix.
- RADICAL HYSTERECTOMY: Removes uterus, cervix and vagina.
The surgery is usually performed on women between the ages of 40 and 49.
More than 20 million American women have had hysterectomy, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As women approach menopause, the chances increase that they will develop one of several serious uterine health problems. Doctors may recommend a hysterectomy as a treatment for:
- uterine (endometrial) cancer
- chronic uterine pain or bleeding
- collapsed uterus
In some cases, doctors may suggest a hysterectomy as a preventive measure if a woman has significant warnings or early signs of developing one or more of these conditions.
If necessary, surgeons can also remove the ovaries and fallopian tubes, if they are also damaged or at serious risk of damage.
Removing reproductive organs sends a woman’s body into menopause, no matter how old she is.
This comes with unpleasant side effects such as hot flashes, and many women have to start hormone therapy, using estrogen to balance their own hormones.