Researcher who lost chef career to endometriosis explains condition

9 February 2022, 16:21 | Updated: 9 February 2022, 17:26

By Tim Dodd

Endometriosis PhD researcher Jodie Hughes shares her struggle with the condition which led to losing her career as a chef.

It comes as a parliamentary debate today will explore how employers can be more supportive to those with the condition.

Endometriosis is a condition where tissue which is similar to the lining of the womb starts to grow in other places, such as on the ovaries and fallopian tubes.

Ms Hughes told Shelagh Fogarty: "This is a disease that's been around since 1860, which is crazy - that no one still knows about it and the conversation is only happening now.

"One thing I do need to point out is that it's not just women that suffer with this condition, we have a whole community of other people who suffer with the condition.

"Even males that were born male can suffer with this condition.

"Transwomen, transmen, and men that were born men - cis men."

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Shelagh asked: "In what way do [cis men] have it?"

"It's generally when there's another condition that's happening alongside it, so if they have oestrogen dominance," Ms Hughes replied.

"Up until only a couple of years ago really, we were saying that it was a condition where the endometrium - the lining of the womb - grows outside the womb. But now there's better pathology, they're discovering that the tissue they're taking out is actually similar to, but is not the same as, the endometrium."

Speaking about her experience of treatment for the condition, Ms Hughes said: "I've had the womb taken away, my ovaries, my cervix is gone - all in an attempt to get a life back.

"I lost my career to endo. That's why I'm a researcher now. I went through all of my adult life as a chef, but I just couldn't do the 12-14 hours on my feet anymore.

"I collapsed in the kitchen in pain, which is mega-dangerous."

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