Special Effects Depiction Shows What Endometriosis Pain Feels Like

"My pain feels like there's a sharp, hot needle inside me, being scraped against my internal organs."

It can be really tough to live with an illness nobody can see—and that's the reality for the millions of people who have endometriosis, a chronic condition that occurs when cells similar to the tissue that lines the uterus are found outside of the uterus, in the ovaries, Fallopian tubes, the abdomen, and the bladder.

Pain caused by endometriosis is usually experienced in the abdomen, lower back, or pelvic areas, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

One of these people, UK-based makeup artist Andrea Baines, decided to do something to show the pain of the condition, and the result is a set of powerful, graphic images.

Editor's Note

This article contains sensitive medical imagery.

"It's traumatic enough for the sufferer to deal with the pain, without feeling like they're lying about their condition," Baines told the Australian parenting website Kidspot.

"It can be extremely isolating to live with a condition that nobody can see. My pain feels like there's a sharp, hot needle inside me, being scraped against my internal organs, and like my insides are being ripped out."

Baines applied realistic makeup to the body of her model, Rachel Berwick—someone else who knows exactly what life with endometriosis is like.

"She chose me because she wanted someone who could bring the idea to life, and since I suffer with endometriosis on a daily basis, I definitely know what that pain feels like," said Berwick.

"It has to be one of the most meaningful, rewarding, personal photo shoots I've ever been a part of. And it was made especially realistic by the fact that most of the facial expressions you can see in the images aren't fake—they're of me genuinely struggling with my pain."


The images—captured by photographer Emma Wilson—are raw and shocking, which is exactly what Baines hoped for. Baines wanted to highlight how endometriosis is different than regular period pain, and not something to be dismissed as simply part of being a woman.


"I know the image I created with special effects makeup is shocking, but that was the idea: I wanted to grab attention, and get people talking about it. And that's exactly what it's doing," said Wilson.

"There absolutely needs to be more awareness raised about endometriosis. It's not okay when one in ten women suffer from endometriosis, and still many people haven't even heard about endometriosis."

Hopefully, Baines' brave images will encourage others to speak out about their endometriosis and increase public understanding of this painful invisible illness.

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