Amy was diagnosed with endometriosis in 2016. This chronic illness creates a wide range of painful symptoms that can affect a woman’s everyday life. With these top tips from Amy, we’re sure you’ll be making the most of your Summer whether you’re off on holiday, a festival or enjoying the great British weather.
And if you’ve got no Summer plans, there’s always Amy’s blunt and autobiographical show, The Year My Vagina Tried To Kill Me, coming up in October for you to look forward to.
1. Be prepared!
You probably do this every day anyway, but make sure you’re always prepared for possible unexpected pain or bleeding. You might be feeling great before you go away, but we all know flare-ups can strike at any time. Instead of worrying that that might happen, be prepared – I’m talking pain killers and beach-friendly sanitary wear. A big holiday must-pack for me is cystitis sachets. I often suffer if I’m in the heat and a bit dehydrated. There’s nothing worse than feeling that initial sting and not being able to take medicine straight away.
Being prepared takes away a lot of the anxiety of holidaying with an unpredictable vagina.
2. Go to the loo at every opportunity
If you’re travelling a long way make sure you’re going to the toilet whenever you see one. You don’t want to be on the two-hour bus ride to the hotel, desperate for the loo or bleeding through your nice new playsuit. This might seem like obvious advice, but for endometriosis sufferers needing the loo is more than uncomfortable. It can be painful and the need can often be urgent.
A lot of us try to eat healthily and exercise to manage our symptoms, but on holiday this often slides. We have mid-day pints and cakes for tea because that’s what holidays are about! However, try to maintain some balance in your diet/sleep/exercise otherwise by the second half of your holiday you can end up feeling crap. I’m not saying don’t have that afternoon ice cream – cocktail combo, but maybe just have some fruit at breakfast and a bit of veg in your meals. You’re still treating yourself and you’ll stay feeling fresh!
4. Keep talking
I don’t always say when I’m in pain or feel knackered because I feel like a whingey cow. If I did I probably wouldn’t have time to talk about anything else. But it is so important that the people around you know where you are at. Most of the time people would rather know beforehand that you’re in too much pain to climb a mountain than to realise half-way and feel bad about making you do it. Anyone who is worth holidaying with should understand and take things at a pace that suits you. Talking is good for you. I always feel a lot less anxious if I know the person I’m with knows if I’m struggling or if I’m feeling amazing.
5. Let go of guilt
This is the most important tip.
I don’t know about other endometriosis sufferers, but I feel constant guilt for not being as productive as I should, or having to change/cancel plans last minute. Quite a lot of the time I even feel guilty for having fun! If I’m too ill to work to full capacity how can I have the energy to enjoy myself? But this is your holiday. YOU DESERVE IT. Whether you’ve been really busy or not managed to work a day in the last 4 months, you deserve a holiday. You are (in some cases) constantly dealing with pain. Let yourself enjoy things and if you have to change your plans one day on holiday because you just need to chill in the hotel/apartment, don’t feel bad about it, holidays are for rest.
And finally, have fun!
So there you have it. Top tips for any keen travellers, but especially those with unpredictable vaginas.
The Year My Vagina Tried To Kill Me
2 + 3 October, 8.30pm
Martin Harris Centre
Amy was diagnosed with endometriosis in 2016. Now she’s here to relive twelve years of misdiagnosis, toilet-based mishaps and failed one-night stands.