An Aberdeen woman has started a petition as part of a bid to raise awareness of a debilitating condition.
Shaunee Jamieson, a midwife at Aberdeen Maternity Hospital, was diagnosed with endometriosis aged 21, after first going to the doctor with severe pain aged 13.
She is now calling on the Scottish Government to change education so young people learn about menstrual wellbeing.
It is hoped the petition, which has more than 500 signatures so far, will bring the issue to the fore so young people can spot symptoms of conditions such as endometriosis and seek help. The condition sees tissue similar to the lining of the womb grow in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes, causing pain.
Shaunee, 23, said: “The petition has more than 500 signatures, which I am amazed by – it has really taken off in a big way.
“If I did not train as a midwife I don’t think I would know what to ask and I don’t think I would have had the diagnosis when I did.”
Shaunee, who lives in the city centre, said: “I remember having to go home from school because of the pain but I could not tell the male teacher why I had to go home. I just hope that in schools they teach them what a normal period looks like so girls will know when they need to ask for help.
“I also hope boys will be more educated so in the future they can understand what a partner, friend, a family member or colleague will be going through.”
Shaunee also runs an online support group on Facebook called Endometriosis Aberdeen.
Meanwhile Emma Adam, who was diagnosed with the condition aged 19 and has gone through several surgeries, has backed the petition. The 28-year-old said: “There is not enough knowledge or research done into this illness.
“My most recent appointment at gynaecology was in 2016-17. My partner and I had been trying to conceive for almost two years with no success. At this meeting I was basically told there was ‘nothing else’ they could do for my endometriosis other than a hysterectomy, which they were not prepared to do until we had children.”
After going through failed rounds of IVF, she made the decision to stop the process.
“My partner and I are coming to terms with the fact that I am not able to have a biological child. It was never where I imagined I would be at 28 years old.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Relationships, sexual health and parenthood education is an integral part of the health and wellbeing curriculum and it is for local authorities and schools to decide how best to deliver the curriculum based on local needs and circumstances, with learning about endometriosis introduced in secondary schools.
“We want to ensure women living with endometriosis are able to access the best possible care and support and benefit from healthcare services that are safe, effective and put people at the centre of their care.
“This year’s Programme for Government 2019 announced a Women’s Health Plan to underpin actions to focus on reducing inequalities in health outcomes which only affect women, such as endometriosis.”
To sign the petition, visit bit.ly/312MzTr