MP shares experience of collapse during crucial Brexit votes last year

A Labour MP has shared her experience of collapsing in Parliament during a round of crucial Brexit votes last year to raise awareness of how women are treated in the NHS.

Louise Haigh (Sheffield, Heeley) spent a week in hospital she suffered an infection following a ruptured cyst on her ovary.

Following an admission for the same condition last week, she said she left hospital feeling like she had been “instantly dismissed” and shared her story with colleagues during a debate on workplace support for women with endometriosis so others do not “suffer in silence”.

She told MPs: “Last year during a round of crucial Brexit votes I collapsed in the Opposition Whips’ Office and was taken to A&E over the road.

“I ended up staying in St Thomas’ for almost a week hooked up to an IV and pumped full of antibiotics and painkillers before I was eventually diagnosed with a cyst on one of my ovaries having ruptured and caused an infection.

“Last week during a similar round of crucial Brexit votes, feeling very much like Groundhog Day, I was back in A&E again with the same problem and in excruciating pain.

“I’ve not told many people about these instances but I wanted to speak in today’s debate because I realised my experience of women’s health is unfortunately far too common.

“Last week I was sent away with painkillers and was told that cysts rupture in women all the time.

“And it very much seems that that has been allowed to happen and is allowed to go without treatment and without any knowledge of the cause because it only happens to women.”

She added: “On leaving hospital last week I cried all the way home. In part, because of the pain, but mostly because I was furious that I had been so instantly dismissed and that I had been told that I would simply have to live with a syndrome which would cause so much pain and risk on a monthly basis.

“I knew that countless other women would have been dismissed just as I was and gone home feeling exactly the same.”

She continued: “I realised that we have to start normalising discussion around something as totally normal as periods.

“The lack of education, awareness and medical research we currently have dismisses women and our health problems. It tells us that our pain is less important and that our fertility is irrelevant.”

Concluding, Ms Haigh said: “I hope that together we can seriously move this agenda forward and demonstrate to millions of women that their voices are heard and that we will no longer allow them to suffer in silence.”

The Westminster Hall debate was focused on endometriosis – a condition where cells like the ones in the lining of the womb are found elsewhere in the body.

Charity Endometriosis UK says the debilitating chronic condition causes painful or heavy periods. It may also lead to infertility, fatigue and bowel and bladder problems and affects around 1.5 million women in the UK.

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