London-born actor and director Charlotte Carroll has shared a heartfelt short film on her remarkable journey with endometriosis and an ectopic pregnancy, encouraging women not to give up hope.
With Lena Dunham and Alexa Chung having set the scene for conversations surrounding endometriosis, it gave a glimpse into the reality of something 1 in 10 women in the UK experience. And now Charlotte Carroll, the London born and raised actress and screenwriter has created a short film on the subject called, The Topic, which documents her own journey with an ectopic pregnancy. Happily, Carroll is now pregnant again, but wants to use the life-changing experience she had to help others who may be going through something similar.
Filmed through the lens of her iPhone, The Topic serves as a rallying call to get people talking more openly about women’s health, as well as to remind women struggling with the pressures of fertility that they are not alone.
Having been admitted to hospital for back pain. Carroll was initially overjoyed when the nurse told her she was pregnant. Sadly, her happiness was to be short-lived when, in the space of an hour she was told that much wanted pregnancy was ectopic and she would lose a fallopian tube in the process, reducing her chances of future fertility by half. Confronted with this rollercoaster of emotion, Carroll turned to the comfort she found in her craft and starting filming.
What happened to Carroll on that day cannot be fully understood without looking at her past history of endometriosis – the often-undiagnosed condition which can lead to an increased risk of fertility issues. Carroll explained she was not diagnosed for many years because the symptoms are often indistinguishable from those of a painful period.
Carroll thought her “dizziness” and “nausea” could be down to anxiety, and that her physical symptoms would simply “correct themselves”. This is something she cautions frequently in The Topic: that women should listen to their bodies and not dismiss symptoms out of busyness or fear. Although the pressure and demands of working, raising children or caring for family and friends can be huge – it’s always important to touch base and ask yourself “how am I feeling?”.
New data finds that 62% of women would put off going to a GP about experiencing painful periods and other symptoms of endometriosis. 20% of women think painful periods are normal. 44% don’t think they are a serious enough issue to bother their doctor. And it’s this that needs to change.
Far from slowing down in her pregnancy, Charlotte is now working alongside Endometriosis UK to ensure women are educated and aware of the condition. Since its launch, ‘The Topic’ has screened at numerous schools across the U.K. to raise awareness and help young girls detect symptoms early on. “If I can help one young woman feel better about how she is feeling,” says Charlotte, “and that she is not alone, then at least some good will have come from what I went through.”
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