As Lauren Wood posed for the camera, it wasn’t just her pretty bra and lacy knickers that were on show. No, her black stoma bag was clearly visible in the sexy shots.
Not your usual modelling session but one that the 30-year-old from Northern Ireland found extremely liberating.
‘I was 21 when I had my ileostomy bag fitted and although it’s been tough at times, I’m proud of who I am. And I am still sexy,’ Lauren tells Metro.co.uk.
From birth, Lauren had issues with projectile vomiting. ‘I couldn’t keep any food down.
Lauren Wood, from Northern Ireland, first struggled to get used to her ileostomy bag, also called a stoma, but she eventually embraced it and now says she feels sexier than her
‘I can remember being in hospital when I was only five with suspected appendicitis, and being in excruciating pain with severe constipation.’
Chronic constipation continued throughout her teens, along with bouts of diarrhoea, severe nausea and vomiting, extreme weight loss, constant pain and fainting.
‘My stomach was so bloated that, as a teen, people would ask when “the baby” was due.’
As Lauren grew up, she saw numerous consultants, surgeons, doctors and nurses, none of whom could provide her with any answers.
Lauren revealed how her stomach issues were so severe that she didn’t have bowel moments for five months, in spite of taking laxatives. Pictured in hospital
As she grew up, Lauren was faced with stomach health issues, and was eventually fitted with a stoma in 2014, pictured now
It was only when she was 17, when she had her appendix removed, that surgeons noticed her colon was severely ulcerated and diseased.
‘While some of my pain had been because of my appendix, the other symptoms were pointing towards chronic bowel disease,’ she says. ‘But even with this diagnosis, nothing changed.
‘At one point, I didn’t open my bowels for five months, even with all the laxatives I was prescribed.’
Being in constant pain affected her far more than just physically.
As a teen, Lauren would experienced severe bloating, pictured, and people would ask her when her baby was due
Lauren in hospital at the height of her chronic stomach disease. She said it impacted her relationships and made her feel isolated
‘I feel like I lost my childhood to trauma, sickness and being in hospital. My relationships over the years have been extremely difficult, too.
What is an Ostomy pouch?
An Ostomy pouch is fitted as a result of a bowel disease.
Bodily waste is rerouted from its usual path because of malfunctioning parts of the urinary or digestive system.
It passes to a surgically created stoma on the abdomen into a prosthetic known as a ‘pouch’ or ‘ostomy bag’ on the outside of the body.
An ostomy can be temporary or permanent.
‘Many family members didn’t understand my troubles and it made me feel alone.’
Finally, aged 19, Lauren was finally referred to a colorectal specialist, and had a stoma fitted in 2014.
‘There were so many things around my stoma that I mentally struggled with. I had to deal with a lot of leaks.
‘My stitches split open after the surgery, and I was on antibiotics for months.
‘It was hard to look at it, change it, empty it, and leaving the house became too much.
‘I found it hard to look at my new body and accept this new way of life.
‘Even though I was sick before, nothing compares to looking down and seeing a part of your own intestine on your belly.’
Thankfully, some of Lauren’s symptoms started to improve thanks to her stoma bag – which she nicknamed Daisy – and gradually, started to come to terms with her.
‘I want others with stomas to know that they’re not a bad thing – that it’s not something to be ashamed of.
‘That’s why I chose to be open on my Instagram about being a disabled woman living with an ostomy bag.
‘I post a variety of fashion posts, including lingerie, swimwear, and different outfits.’
Lauren said she initially found it hard to accept her new body after she had the stoma bag fitted (pictured)
Lauren now after having the stoma bag fitted, which significantly increased her quality of life after years of pain
Lauren has also taken part in four charity calendars, where a variety of people with disabilities – physical and mental or both – pose in lingerie, with words written over their bodies, explain their symptoms and how their illnesses make them feel.
‘Sadly, I’m still fighting against my disease.
‘From chronic pain flare-ups, to issues with the functioning of my stoma and taking a lot of medicines – I find it difficult to do normal things a 30-year-old woman should be doing.
‘But I will keep fighting this, all while proving that I am sexy.’
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk