Sarah Coulson became a natural endometriosis expert after struggling with the debilitating condition in her youth. She was told by doctors that the only way to prevent flare-ups was to have a hysterectomy, taking away her chance of having children.
Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the womb starts to grow in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes, causing severe pain and fatigue.
Now Sarah is holding the online Alternative Endometriosis Summit on Saturday and Sunday, March 12 and 13, starting at 9am, to offer advice about managing the symptoms naturally.
Talking about the emotional impact of the condition and her early struggle to find a sympathetic medic, the 44-year-old said: “I was told the pain is normal. People would say it’s just a part of being a woman. The stress of not being believed impacted my self-esteem. You doubt yourself, [especially] when you look at other women who don’t need a day in bed or aren’t wearing three sanitary towels [at once], women who are sailing through it or taking it in their stride. You lose trust in your own judgement.
"[You ask], ‘Why am I struggling?’
"You think there’s something fundamentally wrong with you. You think it’s cancer.
"It’s a spiral because emotional stuff can trigger [endometriosis symptoms]. You’re stuck in this vicious cycle of being disbelieved, causing more stress.”
Sarah's battle with endometriosis began at age 12 when she started her periods and suffered excruciating pain. She went to her doctor two years later, who put it down to anxiety.
With the pain increasing, she sought a second opinion at age 18 and was referred to a specialist for tests. Her diagnosis finally came at around age 22, and she was put into chemical menopause in her mid-twenties.
As her symptoms worsened, doctors told her she was unlikely to be able to have children and advised her to have a hysterectomy to remove her womb.
She said: "I wasn't ready to say I’d never have children. Other treatments weren't common but I didn't want to have surgery.”
Sarah then began to look into alternative treatments, like Reiki, Qi Gong, reflexology, meditation and massage, and says since then, she has only had two flare-ups in 20 years, adding: “Before, I was missing work. I’ve always been career-driven but I don’t know if I’d have been able to achieve what I wanted to.
"My symptoms are no longer a barrier to me. I’m not held back by them. Once you’ve got them under control, they’re easy to manage.”
She found the treatments so successful that she began practicing them on other people in her free time, before becoming a full-time natural endometriosis therapist four years ago.
She now hopes to spread her message further with her latest event, which will feature wellbeing talks, a Q&A panel, and Reiki taster sessions, all delivered by coaches, a nutritional therapist, a hypnotherapist, a yoga teacher, an acupuncturist and a counsellor.
Visit Eventbright for tickets.