An Okehampton bodypainter is putting her artistic skills to the test as she prepares for a bodypainting display later this month to raise awareness of endometriosis.

Niki Etheridge is working towards her latest bodypainting challenge, which will take place in South Petherwin near Launceston in Cornwall on March 23, to fundraise and raise awareness of endometriosis, a condition in which tissue similar to that found lining the womb grows outside the uterus.

She said: “In 2017, I started holding fundraisers and awareness campaigns for endometriosis, with all raffle money and donations going to the charity Endometriosis UK.

“As I’m a holistic therapist and creative makeup artist, I chose to draw people in with bodypainting displays each year - last year I did the lip art challenge. This year, I will be bodypainting a model in three hours, no airbrushing, no stencils, just paint, brush and sponge.”

March is endometriosis awareness month and this year will be a stand out event for Niki, who suffers from severe endometriosis herself and has recently been diagnosed with adenomyosis, a condition where the lining of the womb grows into the muscle in the wall of the uterus.

After years of pain, several surgeries and many doctor’s appointment, Niki has now made the brave decision to have a hysterectomy at age 36. She is now waiting for a surgery date.

One in ten women and those assigned female at birth suffer from endometriosis in the UK and Endometriosis UK estimates that it takes an average of eight years for women to get a diagnosis.

Niki knows all too well how difficult this can be for women dealing with the condition. She first started experiencing symptoms while studying at university and was initially sent to a sexual health clinic where they prescribed her heavy duty medication. It was not until she was referred to a gynaeocologist and underwent surgery that doctors finally gave her an endometriosis diagnosis.

Endometriosis can result in many different symptoms, some of which can affect day-today life, including painful periods, pain during or after sex, infertility, painful bowel movements and fatigue.