Stewart Perrie in COMMUNITY

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You wouldn’t be alone in thinking stoma bags are only for old people who have had bowel issues or cancer. However, one young woman from London wants people to know that anyone can be affected and have to end up wearing one.

Harriet Williams, 25, also wants you to realise that it’s not the end of the world if you do.

Stoma Woman
Stoma Woman

Credit: Mercury Press

The Londoner was diagnosed with an inflammatory bowel condition when she was just 14, which resulted in some pretty intense symptoms. According to the Sun, not only did she have to go to the bathroom more than two dozen times a day, but she suffered serious pain and discomfort.
Ms Williams elected to get an ileostomy bag, where all human waste ends up after getting surgery to divert the small bowel through an opening in the tummy.

Speaking to the Sun, Harriet said: “It was a scary thought, [the doctors] made it sound like it would be a negative experience but actually when you live with the bag it’s not a bad thing.

“People’s perception is that it is something old people have, it smells bad or that you can’t wear clothes you want to wear.”

Stoma Woman
Stoma Woman

Credit: Mercury Press

On her Instagram, the 25-year-old is proving that you can wear whatever you want, even swimwear.

“When I first got it, I thought I would have to wear maternity clothes and I would never be able to wear normal clothes ever again,” she says.

“You have to adjust to things like learning how to change the bag. That is completely new and can be quite difficult and stressful at first.

“Now I don’t notice the bag at all, it’s improved my life massively and no-one ever looks at me and thinks ‘she has got a bag’. The way I live is completely normal.”

Stoma Woman
Stoma Woman

Credit: Mercury Press

She was told that it would be difficult to eat raw vegetables or fruit, but she’s found that testing her new bowel system in little bits helps broaden her horizons a bit.

“I have had a lot of comments from people who say they are now less scared of the disease,” she added.

“I wanted to show you can be confident in yourself and should not be ashamed to be confident.”

Good on you Harriet.