Triple J Good Nights host and all-round legend Bridget Hustwaite has released her first book How To Endo this week, which is not only a huge win for Bridget, but also for the 700,000+ Australians who are living with the condition.
How To Endo is a “guide to surviving and thriving with endometriosis”, but even if you’re lucky enough not to be one of the 1 in 10 women who live with the condition, the book serves as a guide for how to better understand and support those who do.
“Personally, for me, it’s a deep burning sensation, and it’s a nauseating feeling like I’m going to throw up but I never quite get there. It feels like there’s a theme park inside of me, extreme rollercoasters going full speed and you’re falling off,” Bridget describes her own pain to PEDESTRIAN.TV.
With the release of the book, Bridget hopes to end the idea that endometriosis, which takes an average of 6.5 years to diagnose, is just a “painful period.”
“I think over the years we’ve just had this easy association between endometriosis and painful periods, which for many, it is a legitimate symptom. For me personally, it’s my biggest symptom, but it’s not JUST that,” Hustwaite told PEDESTRIAN.TV.
“I think it’s really important to recognise endometriosis as a whole-body condition and not just one that’s confined to our reproductive organs. And that it’s constant and it’s chronic and that you need to have an ongoing plan as to how you live life with this condition.”
Honestly, the book is a godsend whether you have endo or not. As someone who has personally battled the condition for years, and thought I knew everything there was to know about it, even I learned a lot from the book.
And it turns out Bridget had a similar experience in writing the book.
“The biggest thing that I have learned and accepted is how different endo is for everyone and that not everyone is on the same path and we’re all facing not only different symptoms but different things in our lives,” she said.
But in addition to realising that not everyone has the same symptoms or story, Bridget also learned that based on your location and socioeconomic status, you may not even have access to the same level of treatment.
“Another really big thing that I learned that was a shocking touch of reality for me was the inconsistency in the treatment that we’re getting. Not everyone has access to excision surgery,” she said, referring to the cutting-out of endometriosis, rather than ablation (burning it).
“And not everyone has access to endo specialists.”
“There’s a petition currently circulating around for better treatment in the Northern Territory. There’s not even an endometriosis specialist up there and people have to fly interstate to get treatment and if they present themselves to the hospital in the NT, nobody is equipped to deal with their pain or do anything for them. It’s just so frightening.”
The petition in question is calling for better treatment for endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome and adenomyosis in the Northern Territory, where there is currently not a single specialist practising.
“There needs to not only be more awareness but also more action in ensuring that the treatment is consistent right across the board,” Bridget added.
Regardless of socioeconomic status, location or access to specialists, Bridget understands that the journey to an endometriosis diagnosis, and the ongoing struggle of managing it is a wild and confusing journey and hopes that the book will make it easier for those who are struggling.
“I didn’t know any of this and if I can stop just one person going through that confusing, swirling chaos of getting the wrong information and being told to do something that could end up having a worse effect on their body, then the book is worth it. I needed to do this,” she said.
Bridget Hustwaite’s debut book How To Endo retails for $29.99 and is available via Allen & Urwin, Dymocks, Booktopia and all good book retailers. You can also check out Bridget’s endometriosis work on her Instagram @endogram.