Woman who left concert soaked in blood denied diagnosis for a decade

A woman who left a concert soaked in blood was denied a diagnosis for more than 10 years.

Mum-of-four Linda Hardaker, 42, first went to a doctor about her mood swings and painful, heavy periods when she was 15, two years after the symptoms started. She knew she had the same condition as her mum, aunt and cousins ​​for years, but doctors denied it was hereditary.

Even after leaving a concert when her “pants were literally saturated with blood” when she was 17, doctors dismissed the signs as a heavy period. The florist, from West Derby, was finally diagnosed with endometriosis at 27 after being rushed to Liverpool Women’s Hospital when she collapsed, sobbing from a stabbing, twisting pain in the abdomen not even co-codamol could quell.

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Speaking of the struggle to get diagnosed, Linda said: “You start to doubt yourself. You start to think, ‘Is this all in my head? Have I just got a really low pain threshold? Is this normal? Are these normal periods? Is this normal period pain? Am I just exaggerating? Am I just a wimp? ‘ And obviously that affects your mental health. “

It takes an average of seven years from the start of symptoms for people to be diagnosed with endometriosis, which involves tissue similar to the lining of the womb growing elsewhere in the body, as far away as the lungs. The incurable condition affects one in 10 women and causes sometimes debilitating pain during periods, when the lining sheds and the blood has no where to go like it would in the womb.

The contraceptive pill made Linda’s periods lighter and more regular, but they left her with migraines. Symptoms went away for a while after she had babies, but they soon after came back with a vengeance, sometimes leaving her bedridden.

It wasn’t until she met Manou Kaur, a consultant at Liverpool Women’s Hospital, that Linda got life-changing treatment that ‘gave her life back’. Manou gave Linda a full hysterectomy – removal of the womb and cervix – using a robotic assisted surgery.



Linda Hardaker, 42, said she could “move again” after a robotic assisted hysterectomy that left only pinprick marks

Linda said: “I felt amazing after my surgery. Compared to my c-sections, where I was awake and felt groggy, this was so different. Following my recovery, I went swimming for the first time and found that I could stretch my body and elongate my torso. Everything felt so stuck together before. I’m still finding new things I wasn’t able to do before the surgery. I feel so lucky. It’s made such a difference to the family. “

Manou also diagnosed Linda with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), which had left her feeling anxious and unable to cope at times. Linda was “dumbfounded” that it took until she was 41 for this to be diagnosed.

She said: “My struggles with my mental health and PMDD symptoms completely coincided with my cycle, and now it’s lifted. I wish I recognized it sooner and went on medication, because I feel like I missed out on opportunities with being either riddled with anxiety or feeling sad. At points, I turned up to the doctors sobbing and received depression medication. Nobody told me it could coincide with my cycle. “

With a lifetime of experience with her own endometriosis and that of her relatives, Linda is now equipped to advocate for her daughter now she’s experiencing symptoms. Linda advised people to talk to people about period pain, heavy bleeding and mental health.

She said: “Talk to people who know what you’re going through. Just believe that you are going through something that’s not normal, and get some help from somebody who knows. You need somebody who understands because sometimes you feel really stupid or like you’re exaggerating. Although I don’t want anybody to have endometriosis I feel really lucky that I had people around me who knew what I was going and knew I wasn’t going mad. “

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