For years doctors dismissed me as “hormonal” – now at 25 I have a colostomy bag

A YOUNG woman suffered from intestinal problems for eight years before doctors realized what was wrong.

Ailish Evans, now 25, was told her stomach problems were her “hormones” or “period pains”.

Ailish Evans wants others to be aware of the symptoms and signs of the condition
She said the delay in her diagnosis meant her gut had been damaged too badly

But after years of planning her days near toilets and painful tummy troubles, she was finally diagnosed.

A specialist heard a report of her symptoms and said she had ulcerative colitis.

However, the years not being treated properly for the condition meant too much damage had been done and she needed surgery.

she said the BBC: “Having been left alone for so long, there was no other option for me other than surgery.

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“That got me into raising awareness because the sooner you get it, the more options you have, like medication.

“Since I was 16, I suffered from a real upset stomach and had to plan out all my days if I knew there was going to be a restroom nearby,” she says.

“I could never drink alcohol on a night out with friends because it really upset me so it was difficult for me socially.

“Because I’m a young girl, they thought it was just period pains or my hormones. It was so frustrating.”

Her colon was so inflamed it could burst at any moment, so it was removed in October 2020.

Despite her frustration at the delay in treatment and her need for an ostomy bag that was due, she said she felt so much better.

She said, “My quality of life is so much better because I’m no longer afraid of finding a toilet anywhere.”

It inspired her to start one Instagram page to educate more people about what an ostomy bag is and to fight against any stigma.

The young woman said she’s received dozens of messages from people who are happy to have learned more about how it works.

Through the site, she met one of her closest friends, Summer, who also had one the condition and her colon was removed.

Ulcerative colitis is a long-term condition that causes inflammation of the colon and rectum.

Small ulcers, which may bleed and produce pus, may develop on the lining of the colon.

It is believed to be an autoimmune disease where the immune system gets confused and attacks healthy tissue.

The main symptoms of ulcerative colitis are:

  • recurring diarrhea, which may contain blood, mucus or pus
  • stomach pain
  • need to empty your bowels frequently

You may also experience extreme tiredness (tiredness), loss of appetite, and weight loss.

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The NHS recommends that you see a GP as soon as possible if you have symptoms and no diagnosis has been received.

It is estimated that around 1 in 420 people living in the UK have ulcerative colitis. That’s around 146,000 people.

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