By Alyce Collins
THIS WOMAN’S periods and ovarian cysts were so painful she decided to have a hysterectomy at just TWENTY-EIGHT, but she lost so much weight as a result she now takes part in BIKINI competitions.
Operations manager Ashley Williamson (31) from Texas, United States, endured the same abdominal pain, cysts and painful periods for her entire life until bravely deciding enough was enough and undergoing a hysterectomy at just 28.
In 2016, Ashley finally wanted to end the excruciating cycle she had suffered for so long with, and so she made the decision to have a premature hysterectomy, preventing her from having any other children.
Ashley had struggled with her weight for quite some time since her first child was born in 2004 which held her back for years afterwards. It was only after having her second and final child in 2012 that Ashley was able to open her eyes to her weight gain.
Ashley went from weighing 13st 5lbs and a UK size 20, to now a healthy 7st 6lbs and a UK size 6.
Turning her health around wasn’t easy for Ashley because she knew that she couldn’t let her health spiral out of control any longer.
Having major surgery in 2016 for a hysterectomy made it difficult for Ashley to keep up with her new-found love for fitness as she was on bed rest and then had to rebuild her strength in the following months.
“After suffering with abdominal pain, ovarian cysts and heavy menstrual cycles for most of my life, it was discovered that heavy cycles were causing me to be anaemic,” said Ashley.
“I had my first child in 2004 at the age of 17 and my body really didn’t bounce back. That’s where my negative body image began. After that, I didn’t wear a bikini until I was 24 years old and even then I was very self-conscious.
“My weight continued to pack on over the years. It wasn’t until my second child was born in 2012 that I got serious about my health.
“After my second child was born, I decided that my weight and my health had spiralled too far out of control. I wanted to live a long life for my children and be able to chase them around.
“I used Weight Watchers and cardio to lose the first 50lbs and managed to keep the weight off.”
Ashley explained how the pain she had endured for so many years finally became too much for her, despite her weight loss, and her only option left was to have a premature hysterectomy.
A hysterectomy is a last resort for most medical professionals as patients due to its nature meaning women are no longer able to carry children.
“I was anaemic from a heavy flow and I had terrible cramps my whole life,” said Ashley.
“I moved to Texas and found a doctor who finally knew how to take care of me and she recommended the hysterectomy and that I also go gluten free.
“She put me on a natural thyroid hormone replacement and started a natural oestrogen and testosterone replacement a month before the hysterectomy.
“The bloat was the most uncomfortable feeling, but it subsided a little more each day. For me, the hardest part was not being able to get up and move around as much as I wanted to.
“At that point, I decided to lose more of the weight and I set my goal to start competing in bikini competitions.”
Now five years on since she first started to shed her pregnancy weight, and two years after her hysterectomy, Ashley has now competed in two bikini bodybuilding competitions.
Fitness has changed Ashley’s attitude to life as she is now constantly seeking success and achieving the goals that she sets herself. Having a hysterectomy could have stopped many women in their tracks, but Ashley saw it as a new possibility to put an end to the pain and discomfort she was so used to and to become stronger, both physically and mentally.
“It took me eight months from the time when I decided I wanted to compete to being conditioned enough to take the stage,” Ashley said.
“I will always feel that there is room for improvement, especially in a sport like bodybuilding. However, I am the most confident I have ever been.
“I have found my voice and my backbone. I now have a will to succeed like I never had before.”
You can find out more about Ashley’s inspirational transformation at @a.will.fitness.