Sinead Smythe spent years searching for answers about what was causing her excruciating stomach cramps.
While cramping is a common symptom of menstruation, Sinead’s unbearable aches were well beyond what could be considered “normal” period pain. And yet, that’s exactly what they were dismissed as being.
According to the Daily Mail, the 20-year-old from the English city of Brighton was only 11 years old when she first began suffering from her mysterious illness. She recalled being repeatedly told by doctors that she simply suffered from bad periods.
Throughout her nine years suffering from the debilitating pain, Sinead visited the A&E (“Accident and Emergency” department, the UK’s equivalent of an American emergency room) over 200 times and underwent two operations in the hopes of finding a permanent cure for her pain — but nothing worked.
After years of suffering, Sinead was finally diagnosed with endometriosis in January 2016, after initially being misdiagnosed with Pelvic Inflammatory Disease.
“The pain can be so crippling that I cannot move from the same position, I can be rolled up in a ball for hours on end,” Sinead told the Daily Mail. “I lost two jobs in 2015 and 2016 as a receptionist due to endometriosis, as I became unreliable due to the daily pain. My employers didn’t understand, they looked at me as if I was lying because I didn’t physically look unwell.”
Now, Sinead is seeking to raise awareness about the condition, so that other women don’t have to suffer in silence for as long as she did.
Sinead told Bustle:
“I would love if people who don’t suffer [with endometriosis] understood those of us who do aren’t being dramatic — we aren’t having a ‘bad period.’ We are living with an incurable, invisible chronic illness which affects almost every single aspect of our lives. […] It takes the average woman over 7 years to be diagnosed [with endometriosis], which is unbelievable. I really hope and pray this illness becomes more noticed. If endometriosis was labelled as a disability, it may help us educate the world, and also may help those suffering from the unknown.”
Don’t forget to SHARE this story on Facebook to help Sinead raise awareness about endometriosis!
Photos: Instagram / Sinead Smythe; Caters News Agency
Due to restrictions, this video cannot
be viewed in your region.