BBC soap star James and spouse Victoria tied the knot in 2012 and soon fell pregnant with both sons, Edward and Louis. However, problems started to arise when they were trying for their third child. After months of trying to conceive the pair thought that their “baby-making days were over”. The problem turned out to be wife Victoria’s severe endometriosis.
Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the womb starts to grow in other places such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes. It is a long-term condition and can have a significant impact on your life.
Talking to OK! Victoria Bye said: “When we started trying for our third early last summer, we thought we’d fall pregnant quickly again.
“We tried for a couple of months and nothing happened. Then I began suffering from aches and pains in my abdominal area. I went for tests and it transpired I had severe endometriosis.
“Month after month, we’d see negative tests.”
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Endometriosis can affect women of any age with some able to feel symptoms whilst others are not able to notice any symptoms at all.
The main symptoms of endometriosis according to the NHS are:
- Pain in your lower tummy or back (pelvic pain) – usually worse during your period
- Period pain that stops you doing your normal activities
- Pain during or after sex
- Pain when peeing or pooing during your period
- Feeling sick, constipation, diarrhoea, or blood in your pee during your period
- Difficulty getting pregnant.
Monthly periods may also become extremely heavy and you may find yourself having to use more sanitary products than usual.
The NHS continues to state that the condition can cause fertility problems. It is thought that due to the damage of the fallopian tubes or ovaries, the process of fertilisation is made much more difficult.
Sadly medication does not improve fertility either. Individuals can undergo surgery to remove visible patches of endometriosis tissue but after the procedure there is no guarantee that it will help you get pregnant.
Alternative methods such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF) are available for those who are struggling to get pregnant, however those who suffer with moderate to severe endometriosis tend to have a lower success rate getting pregnant through IVF also.
If endometriosis affected tissue is near or in the ovaries, conditions such as ovarian cysts and adhesions can develop.
Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled cysts in the ovaries that can sometimes become very large and painful. Adhesions on the other hand are known as “sticky” areas of endometriosis tissue that can join organs together.
Victoria added: “We both sat there sobbing with happiness, holding him in the birthing pool.”
James’ co-stars Turner and Davood also agreed to be Hugo’s godfather.
Although there is no known cure for endometriosis, symptoms can be treated so they do not affect your everyday life. Treatment options are often determined by the patient’s age, main symptoms, whether they want to become pregnant, their views on surgery and whether they have tried any other treatments in the past.
Valid treatments include pain medication and anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen, hormone treatments to limit or stop the production of oestrogen in your body, as oestrogen encourages endometriosis tissue to grow and shed, and contraceptive medication including the combined pill and progestogens.