When it comes to reality TV stars, there’s no one in Australia quite as iconic as Angie Kent. The blonde bombshell has appeared on Gogglebox, The Bachelorette, I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here and most recently, Dancing with The Stars. Angie is also among the 1 in 10 women in Australia who have Endometriosis, a condition in which tissue similar to the lining of the uterus occurs outside this area, as well as other parts of the body.
In addition, Angie has also been diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) and Interstitial Cystitis, other painful conditions, which affect her day-to-day life including her ability to exercise. Having recently joined the Studio Pilates family, we caught up with Angie during Endometriosis Awareness Month to talk about all things Pilates, pain management and find out how Studio Pilates helps her manage her Endometriosis.
How long did you have symptoms for before you got an official diagnosis?
I have had symptoms off and on since I got my period at 12, but my symptoms for PCOS were not at an all-time high until last year. I noticed my body was changing, I only had to look at food and I’d gain weight, my hormonal pigment was out of control, my acne came back, I started getting hair in places I never had before. The biggest symptom was that my period stopped and my fatigue and pain were out of control, which in turn made my anxiety and depression even worse. I think that started after my 2020 surgery for endometriosis but wasn’t told I had PCOS until early 2021.
How do they affect your day to day life?
The physical and emotional impact of endometriosis is sometimes indescribable. Not only are you constantly fighting a battle with your body, but you’re also fighting a battle to be heard and supported in the medical field and in your personal life. It can ruin relationships because there isn’t enough awareness surrounding it and because you can’t see it, it’s almost as if you feel others think it doesn’t exists. The idea that endo is confined to the reproductive organs is also false. It can be a whole-body disease and so many people don’t know this. No two sufferers will experience the exact same symptoms or reactions to treatments.
Does it affect your ability to do certain types of exercise?
It sure does and leading up to my third laparoscopy (surgery to remove endometriosis tissue) I was unable to exercise because I was so fatigued that I found it hard to stay awake for an entire day. High intensity exercise isn’t ideal for most people who suffer from PCOS, because of the stress it puts on the body. There’s no need to overdo it, which is why I am so excited to really get into Studio Pilates. Pilates will not only help burn calories, but also reduce stress levels that can worsen PCOS symptoms. The belly breath work, movement and learning how to correctly relax and activate the pelvic floor is going to be a game changer for my symptoms and recovery.
What kind of exercise responds the best with your body?
I used to love boxing and HIIT but I’ve found that as I’ve gotten older my symptoms became worse and with my other diagnoses I don’t respond as well to high intensity activities. I love walking, lifting weights, stretching, dancing, yoga and when I tried reformer Pilates, I loved it.
How has your mentality around nutrition and exercise changed since your diagnosis?
I have been working with my naturopath for 3 years to help with my Endometriosis and then my recent diagnosis of PCOS. I am already coeliac and a pescatarian so my diet is already quite good. Exercise is something I am really looking forward to getting back into as I haven’t been able to do it for the last few months leading up to my recent surgery and I am still currently in recovery post-surgery.
Why does Pilates work well for you?
Pilates works for me as I need something to keep me fit and toned but also relaxed and flexible. This will help with my pelvic floor which can be super tight and tense due to endometriosis. Core work is going to be the biggest favour I can do for my endo and pelvic nerve damage as well as that extra weight that’s been stuck to my body thanks to PCOS. I’m really looking forward to saying goodbye to that!
How do you manage your pain?
I try to manage my pain as naturally as possible. I worked with my naturopath almost full time to manage my symptoms and pain pre-surgery. I have recently started with a new health practitioner who works alongside my surgeon/specialist and they’re putting together a pain management plan for me which involves supplements, diet, treatments, acupuncture, pelvic physio, diet and of course my exercise plan which will consist of Reformer Pilates, yoga, weights and walks.
Who first introduced you to Studio Pilates?
Two of my girlfriends recommended Studio Pilates in a matter of one week. I figured it was a sign and thought YES this is going to be my new exercise obsession. I am ready for my body with all its invisible illnesses to take on this adventure and reap the benefits of Reformer Pilates with Studio Pilates.
How many classes do you do each week?
I will be doing 3 to start off with and see how I go from there… slow and steady to start off with. Don’t want to overdo it post-surgery.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to others who are struggling with Endo or PCOS?
Endometriosis is grieving who you were before and anxious about what the future may hold with such a debilitating illness. I am hoping by being my own health advocate I can also be that for others, and to let people know they are not alone! You know longer have to suffer in silence.
People with endometriosis are fighting a battle with their body, Healthcare System, and people who don’t hold space for it due to lack of education for the female anatomy as a whole and this needs to change.