Don’t suffer in silence

A model is helping to raise awareness of a common disease afflicting young women

Nana Afua Antwi

Nana Afua Antwi, pictured centre, is a model and campaigner from Highams Park

Following a recent traumatic experience my mission this year is to enlighten people about the dangers of endometriosis, a condition specifically affecting women.

Endometriosis occurs from tissue outside the uterus causing pelvic pain, which is especially associated with menstruation.

In January I formed a partnership with Endometriosis UK, as an advocate to create awareness about the disease. The sad thing about it is how long it takes to get diagnosed and how destructive it can be to your reproductive system.

The disease affects 176 million women worldwide and about 1.5 million in the UK. Around one in ten women is likely to have the disease – often without knowing.

My main objective is to echo the demand by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists for further research into better treatment of the disease and for local doctors to take the condition more seriously. The disease has no cure and permanent treatment is surgery, which has major consequences.

Endometriosis has ruined my personal life and my budding career as a model, but when I finally opened up about my journey on social media I realised I was not alone. I was contacted by many women and girls suffering with the disease in silence.

In March I organised a charity event to create awareness in my local community, Highams Park, to reach out and educate women and young girls to get diagnosed and seek further assistance. The event was successful. It highlighted the stages of the disease and gave women confidence to get the right support from Endometriosis UK and the National Health Service.

During the event I spoke about how schools need to teach menstrual wellbeing and stop treating periods like a ‘dirty secret’. Endometriosis affects young girls as well and it can sometimes go undiagnosed for as long as 13 years. The symptoms aren’t obvious – it’s more than just a painful period.

Please do visit the websites listed below for more information on the disease, my campaign, and the work of Endometriosis UK.

For more information on Endometriosis UK:


For more information on Nana: