Naga Munchetty reacts as health ordeal story that worried husband gets award nomination

Kyiv: Naga Munchetty cuts interview short for reporter's safety

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Naga Munchetty considered herself to have a high pain threshold, but when she had a coil fitted, her screams of pain were so distressing that a nurse was in tears and her husband James Haggar in the waiting room tried to find out what treatment room she was in to intervene. Describing the procedure as “excruciating”, the BBC Breakfast presenter took to BBC Radio 5 Live last year to share her experience and question why women’s pain was treated not as a “problem to solve”, but something they simply had to suffer.

The nurse accompanying the doctor had tears in her eyes [and] I fainted twice

Naga Munchetty

She updated followers today with a tweet announcing: “This has been nominated for ‘Radio Times Moment Of The Year’.

“So proud of the work our @bbc5live team put into this important subject to be aired,” she proudly continued.

During her segment on the show, she described having a coil fitted as “one of the most traumatic physical experiences” she’d ever had.

Though she emphasised that the procedure was safe and effective and that some women have no issues at all, she added that agonising pain was not uncommon and pointed out women are often “made to feel that their pain is something to endure”.

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Referencing an article by journalist Caitin Moran about pain relief options during the insertion and removal of the coil, she admitted that the account “resonated” with her, as she’d had the same issues herself.

“Caitlin Moran asks: ‘Why is it presumed that women will be fine with having their cervix artificially dilated with a pair of metal barbecue tongs before having what is basically the wire coat hanger from a dolls house inserted into their uterus?'” Naga shared in 2021.

“Before the IUD removal and insertion, women are merely told: ‘This might be a bit uncomfortable.'”

Naga herself hadn’t expected much discomfort, believing that she was simply going in for a routine procedure.

“I have a very high pain threshold – I know this from experience of pain and I’ve been told this by medical experts,” she added.

“I’m not, or wasn’t then, afraid of being in pain if I knew it would be temporary.”

However, it seemed nothing could have prepared her for the harrowing experience of the coil, having simply been told to take Paracetamol in the hours before her procedure was scheduled.

“I have never been pregnant, so my cervix, until then, had never been opened,” she explained.

“My screams were so loud that my husband tried to find out what room I was in to make it stop,” she shuddered.

“He said that those in the waiting room hearing my screams looked horrified.

“The nurse accompanying the doctor had tears in her eyes [and] I fainted twice.”

The BBC World News host was asked on multiple occasions if she would prefer to stop but said she was “determined” to continue, having started the procedure.

“It was removed a year later because it didn’t suit me and again the pain was excruciating,” she added.

“I fainted again and I burst into tears of relief when I left the GP’s office – I felt violated, weak and angry.”

Naga has emphasised that she was not offered the option of anaesthetic or sedation during the procedure, and was merely asked if she wanted to stop altogether when the pain became too much.

She hopes that sharing her experience will prompt a discussion on the way women are often compelled to feel that pain is “something to endure [instead of] a problem to solve”.

She had a flood of supportive responses on Twitter, as some of her community of almost 270,000 followers came forward in recognition.

Meanwhile @jamie_eldon, who congratulated her on her “well-deserved” award nomination, sympathised: “It’s horrific when even female doctors don’t offer pain relief or dismiss the extent of trauma. So happy this issue is being highlighted more.”

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