Endometriosis sufferers reveal just how debilitating the condition is in Rankin photoshoot – including one woman whose period lasted SIX months


ENDOMETRIOSIS sufferers have posed for a series of powerful photos as part of a new Rankin exhibition to raise awareness for the “invisible” illness.

The exhibition Beyond the Invisible has been developed in partnership with Endometriosis UK and savings company Standard Life to shine a light on 15 people’s experience with the chronic pain condition.


BBC Radio 5 Live presenter Emma Barnett is one of the 15 sufferers included in the Rankin exhibition and was only diagnosed with endometriosis after 20 years of unexplained pain[/caption]

Endometriosis is a chronic condition which occurs when tissue which behaves like the lining of the womb is found outside of the uterus – in areas of the body including the ovaries, fallopian tubes, the abdomen and the bladder.

Although the exact cause of the condition remains unknown, more than 1.5 million women in the UK are affected by endometriosis.

In an attempt to make this condition “visible” to the public, the internationally-renowned photographer has shot a series of intimate photographs and videos of people who have experience of the condition.

Along with photographing media personalities Emma Barnett and Julia Bradbury, 29-year-old Bex Eliff also revealed how this agonising condition left her with periods that lasted up to six months.


TV presenter Julia Bradbury also suffers from this debilitating condition[/caption]


Bex Eliff, 29, once had a period that lasted over SIX MONTHS and raised £7,000 for Endometriosis UK last year by running a marathon[/caption]

23-year-old Katy Johnstone has been open about how her diagnosis has left her feeling isolated among her peers


Last year, Bex ran the London marathon for Endometriosis UK and raised more than £7,000 for the charity.

She was first diagnosed with the condition at the age of 15 and would often pass out from the pain.

Bex – who works as an acting agent – is now on a waiting list for an operation to treat her endometriosis.

Last month it was revealed that millions of women with endometriosis have to wait up to seven years before getting a correct diagnosis.

As 87 per cent of women with endometriosis have said it has impacted their financial status and ability to work, the life savings charity Standard Life’s aim is to support women suffering with the invisible illness through this exhibition.

According to Endometriosis UK, the chronic condition costs the UK economy £8.2bn a year in loss of work, treatment and healthcare costs.


Jade Justice, 30, would take over-the-counter painkillers from the age of 13 to cope with endometriosis[/caption]


Bhavni Fowler, 42, suffered with endometriosis for nine years before getting a diagnosis[/caption]


Sarah Smallbone, 35, co-runs the Endometriosis UK support group for South Essex and was first diagnosed during keyhole surgery for an ovarian cyst[/caption]


Sanchia Alasia is the Mayor of Barking and Dagenham and was diagnosed after nine years[/caption]

The exhibition is currently showing in La Galleria Pall Mall in London before relocating to Edinburgh next month.

Describing the inspiration behind his latest work, Rankin said: “I didn’t know a huge amount about endometriosis until Standard Life approached me about collaborating on this project for their Invisible Illnesses campaign.

“I just couldn’t believe that one in ten women is living with this; the excruciating pain and the way it negatively affects basically every aspect of their lives.


Mum-of-one Kirsten Morgan, 46, was diagnosed at the age of 28 after over a decade of unexplained pain[/caption]


Roxie Gatrell, 29, faced a delay in her diagnosis as her doctor said her case wasnt valid because she wasn’t in a heterosexual relationship[/caption]


Shazia Ginai, 36, has created a support group for women with endometriosis in Norht Surrey and is encouraging other young muslim women to talk more openly about their period[/caption]

“Their relationships, careers and finances suffer due to this sometimes-debilitating condition.

“I hope this exhibition can almost make tangible the invisible agony of endometriosis, which is so hard to understand if you are not affected.”

Endometriosis UK CEO Emma Cox added: “Delayed diagnosis can have devastating effects on women’s quality of life.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Standard Life and impressed with their determination to raise awareness and reduce diagnosis times, helping improve the lives of future generations of women.”

Beyond the Invisible is showing in La Galleria Pall Mall from 21-28 March and will be at Stills Gallery in Edinburgh from 1-8 April 2019.

Symptoms of endometriosis

Endometriosis is where cells like the ones in the lining of the womb (uterus) are found elsewhere in the body.

Each month, these cells react in the same way to those in the womb – building up and then breaking down and bleeding. Unlike the cells in the womb that leave the body as a period, this blood has no way to escape.

That can lead to infertility, fatigue, bowel and bladder problems, as well as really heavy, painful periods.

It affects one in ten women in the UK.

Symptoms include:

  • Painful, heavy, or irregular periods
  • Pain during or after sex
  • Infertility
  • Painful bowel movements
  • Fatigue

The cause of endometriosis is unknown and there is no definite cure.

According to Endometriosis UK, it takes over seven years on average for women to finally receive a diagnosis.

It’s estimated that up to 50 per cent of infertile women has the condition.

Source: Endometriosis UK

In more health news, this endometriosis sufferer endured three decades of agonising pain… until running and acupuncture “cured” her symptoms.

And women plagued by endometriosis are “TWICE as likely to develop ovarian cancer”, experts have warned.



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