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Student embraces stoma bag for sexy lingerie shoots to empowers others 

By Josh Saunders

A student is bravely showing off her stoma bag in a sexy lingerie shoot to empowers others with the digestive disease.

Lydia Andrew, 21, from Wollaton, Nottingham, struggled to deal with the appearance of her stoma after having her large intestines removed last year.

PICS BY LYDIA ANDREW / CATERS NEWS

She has ulcerative colitis, an inflammation of the digestive tract that left her visiting the bathroom up to 20 times a day and caused chronic fatigue and extreme discomfort.

Having a stoma fitted was her ‘worst nightmare’ as she feared her peers wouldn’t understand and nobody would find her attractive.

But after discovering special lingerie to support the bag, she embraced her difference and became a model for the collection.

PICS BY JASMINE STACEY COLLECTION / CATERS NEWS

Now she’s determined to show other inflammatory bowel disease survivors that they don’t need to be embarrassed by their stoma bags either.

Lydia, a multimedia textile design student, said: “It was quite difficult to get my head around, I had lifesaving surgery but it was a huge taboo to talk about it.

“The stoma-bag is holding waste and is not something that’s spoken about, having it on your stomach is hugely embarrassing.

“It was my biggest nightmare, everything was going wrong at that time but after seeing Jasmine Stacey Collection underwear online it gave me hope and I volunteered to model for her.

PICS BY JASMINE STACEY COLLECTION / CATERS NEWS

“She makes underwear that are attractive, most other ones I had seen were like ‘granny pants’ and didn’t suit me, nor did I desire any.

“The underwear keeps my stoma bag hidden, even under tight clothes so you know it’s not going to be seen and protects it.

“While modelling I wanted to show others the importance of feeling attractive, one of my biggest fears being in my 20s was that no one would find me attractive because of my stoma.

“After doing the shoot we’ve had so many women and men messaging us, I didn’t realising how empowering it would be for people.

“I hope to show others that having a stoma is not the end of the world, I wouldn’t say it’s the best thing but it’s not the worst and has shaped who I am today.

PICS BY JASMINE STACEY COLLECTION / CATERS NEWS

“I want to empower others through my modelling and believe it’s probably the best thing I’ve ever done, it’s so important not to let this control your life.”

Lydia’s stomach pains and frequent bathroom use, was misdiagnosed for four years before inflammatory bowel disease was identified.

Her symptoms were initially confused for stress as well as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and anorexia after she lost 10kg (1st 8).

Lydia said: “I would have to go to the bathroom up to 20 times a day, then I was up all night as well, it was so painful and left me with chronic fatigue.

“At the beginning, we thought my digestion issues were due to stress during my exams but it continued to get worse.

PICS BY JASMINE STACEY COLLECTION / CATERS NEWS

“One summer I weighed 46kg (7st 3) at my lowest, which was minute for my 5ft 6 frame, you could see all my ribs and it was grim, I’m a small person so it massively dropped off me.”

A colonoscopy revealed Lydia had ulcerative colitis and after two years on medications she needed surgery to remove her colon and reroute her intestines to a stoma bag.

After having a subtotal colectomy, she struggled to talk about the stoma until finding other sufferers online.

Lydia said: “I have an amazing medical team and mum who helped me to feel more confident, but ultimately the stoma community were the biggest help.

“Speaking to others online who were dealing with similar problems, was liberating and really helped.”

PICS BY LYDIA ANDREW / CATERS NEWS

Lydia discovered ‘sexy lingerie’ specifically designed to support stoma bags from Jasmine Stacey Collection.

Since then she’s had a great response from fellow survivors and is now encouraging others to embrace their stomas too.

Lydia said: “During the photoshoot, I felt I was able to set myself free from my fears and insecurities about having a stoma bag.

“I think being able to show the stoma in attractive way with beautiful underwear is something that resonates with other people in the stoma community.

“It’s the epitome of luxury having a nice pair of underwear that holds the stoma in and keeps it protected.

PICS BY LYDIA ANDREW / CATERS NEWS

“Since the shoot a lot of people have told me I’m much more confident, it’s made me proud to call myself an IBD warrior.”

The collection was made by former-nurse Jasmine Stacey, 25, from Bournemouth, Dorset, who designed the range after having a stoma-bag herself.

Since starting nearly two years ago, she’s helped women to feel empowered and hopes to expand into making lingerie for other with scars too.

Jasmine said: “I was amazed at the shoot, Lydia blows me away more than anything, when you meet her she’s so kind, passionate and bubbly.

PICS BY LYDIA ANDREW / CATERS NEWS

“Then when she is modelling all of a sudden she becomes so fierce and powerful it’s really amazing to see.

“My collection has given some women enough confidence to feel feminine again and gives them hope that they can feel attractive in underwear.

“My main goal is to empower women with stoma-bags, scars and help them to feel body positive.”

Do you, or someone you know, have a similar story to tell? Get in touch today to earn £££ and raise awareness.

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