Georgia Stuart suffered in silence debilitating pain for more than a decade.
From puberty, the 27-year-old Queensland woman experienced symptoms that would leave her tied to the bed, unable to study and constantly dragged in a ball of pain.
For a long time, doctors insisted that this was just a “normal” experience for a young girl who was going through puberty and had her period.
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Georgia Stuart experienced pain for more than a decade before being properly diagnosed. (Supplied)
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Georgia is one of thousands of struggling Australians endometriosis – a little-researched condition with no known cure.
“My symptoms started when I was just a child, around six. When I had my first period it was so painful, then there were digestive problems, low immune system, headaches, fatigue and very severe back pain. Georgia explains.
“When I was 12 my back pain was very bad, but doctors said ‘it’s your posture’ or ‘you’re too young to have something wrong with you.’ It took ages and ages to be diagnosed.”
For so long, Georgia thought she had to accept that daily agony was only a part of life. It wasn’t until she was 17 that doctors finally recognized her pain as endometriosis.
Endometriosis, which affects one in nine Australian women, occurs when uterine-like tissue grows outside the organ, most often in the ovaries, fallopian tubes and pelvis, causing pain and extreme discomfort.
Georgia says she was “gas-lit” for years by medical professionals, which left her struggling with pain without proper treatment.
“Little is known about it, it’s so poorly researched and underfunded, and the symptoms are so diverse,” says Georgia.
“The normalization of painful periods does not help. Many people are told that this is normal and that they are taking painkillers or taking the pill, and their symptoms will never be properly investigated.”
The Queensland student was 17 when he learned the reason for his pain. (Supplied)
After being officially diagnosed, Georgia underwent three laparoscopic surgeries and spent more than $ 30,000 on medical bills to free her body from endless pain.
Unfortunately, that was not enough. When symptoms left her unable to work or study, Georgia asked doctors for more treatment options to stop the pain. The student was prescribed opioids in 2019, but says he suffered “very bad” side effects.
Finally, the gynecologist from Georgia referred her to aa cannabis doctor, who told him about the benefits of CBD oil and THC (hashish oil). It was a life-changing moment.
“It was a nightmare, I was running out of options. So I researched and then my doctor referred me to a cannabis doctor, who prescribed me CBD oil and THC oil for when the pain becomes very severe Georgia recalls.
“And it’s been so amazing. I don’t take any opioids and it’s been a big difference to my life. It helps clear my head, it reduces my anxiety and I can study and do things.”
Georgia says that while there is no cure for the symptoms of endometriosis, medical cannabis has allowed it to be managed effectively and you can finally live your life without daily, debilitating pain.
“I’ve definitely improved a lot,” he says happily. “But I’m still in pain, probably a week from now.”
Georgia used CBD oil to help control its daily pain. (Supplied)
According to Justin Sinclair, scientific director of the Australian Natural Therapy Group, medical cannabis has been found to significantly relieve the pain of many endometriosis patients.
He says that while many women like Georgia get CBD through legal and medically approved channels, an alarming number of people turn to illicit cannabis to control their pain.
In a new study, researchers from the University of Western Sydney NICM Health Research Institute they have found almost three-quarters of Australians with endometriosis who use cannabis to relieve their pain use it illegally.
“A number of factors, including concerns about possible legal repercussions, the judgment of your doctor or society, or the alleged unwillingness of your doctors to prescribe legal medical cannabis were the main reasons for not talking to your doctor. says Sinclair.
“Of particular concern are the clinical consequences of cannabis use without medical supervision, especially with regard to possible drug interactions and the decrease or cessation of certain pharmaceutical drugs without such supervision.”
He added: “Improving communication between physicians and patients about medical cannabis use can improve levels of medical supervision, the preference for legal adoption of medical cannabis over acquisition through illicit supply, and reduce ‘Cannabis-associated stigma’.
Georgia says CBD oil has changed her life. (Supplied)
Georgia says acquiring a prescription for medical cannabis was “super easy” and is pleased that the stigma associated with it is slowly fading.
She says it is a common myth that only dying patients can have access to CBD oil for medical reasons.
“At first I thought I wouldn’t be able to get it because I wasn’t dying of cancer or needing to manage the pain of a deadly disease,” says Georgia.
“There was definitely a taboo, probably that’s why GPs gave me opioid scripts, and when I tell them I’m taking medical cannabis, the judgment is a little crazy.”
Georgia recounts her experience with endometriosis on her Instagram page. The newspaper Endo, and wants to help other people who are suffering from the same pain find the right treatment.
In addition to medical cannabis, Georgia also finds that yoga, swimming, Pilates, and healing massages can help control your pain.
“I share my journey with medical cannabis and how it has worked for me, creating a safe space for other people to not feel alone,” adds Georgia.
“It helps people feel less isolated. There’s a lot of misinformation. I’m not a professional but I just want to tell everyone what helps me.”
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