Woman ‘lost two jobs and visited A&E 200 times because her illness was mistaken for period pain’

A 20-year-old woman says she lost two jobs and visited A&E more than 200 times – because her crippling endometriosis was dismissed as ‘period pain’.

Sinead Smythe was eventually diagnosed with the painful condition after suffering years of stomach cramps, which could leave her rolled up in a ball for hours.

She had suffered cramps since she was 11, but wasn’t told she had endometriosis until 2016.

The condition causes tissue – that behaves like the lining of the womb – to grow onto the ovaries, fallopian tubes, inside the stomach, and in or around the bladder and bowel.

Sinead, who has undergone two operations, claims she lost two jobs as a receptionist because her employers lacked understanding.

Sinead, from Brighton, is now raising awareness for endometriosis in a desperate attempt to prompt more research into the condition.

After going viral after posting about her condition online, she has since set up a blog to document her life with the invisible illness.

Sinead added: “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.

“I lost two jobs in 2015 and 2016 as a receptionist due to endometriosis as I became unreliable due to the daily pain.

“My employer’s didn’t understand, they looked at me as if I was lying because I didn’t physically look unwell, anyone who does not understand calls it ‘a bad period.’

But it is so much worse than that and so misunderstood by those who aren’t affected.

“Throughout the years I have visited both the doctors and A&E hundreds of times without any help at all.

“I even decided to take myself to a sexual health clinic as a last resort of trying to find out what was wrong.

“At first I was diagnosed with Pelvic Inflammation Disease and despite being on antibiotics, nothing helped.

“It wasn’t until January 2016 that I was diagnosed with endometriosis and I was finally taken seriously.

“I underwent a surgery called laparoscopy so doctors could see what was going on inside my stomach.

It was then that they realised I had the condition and they removed as much of the endometriosis as possible.

“However I had no idea it was a reoccurring illness and the pain was back just three months later.

“Despite the agony it causes, I have set up a blog to help raise awareness so others can understand the condition.”

Sinead has been told by doctors that the only possible cure for her endometriosis is to have a hysterectomy.

She added: “I want to have a family one day so having a hysterectomy isn’t an option for me right now and I don’t think it ever will be.

“My condition can cause infertility which causes me huge amounts of anxiety, its absolutely terrifying.

“Endometriosis doesn’t just cause you tromendous amounts of pain, but it is mentally draining and can cause women depression and anxiety!

“Another doctor told me to have a baby now if I want to ease my endometriosis, I was only 18 years old at the time.

“But I’m currently single and being told that as a teenager hit me like a rock as it showed there’s little real hope for anyone diagnosed.

“That’s why I decided to set up a blog and write a post about how endometriosis affects my life.

“If we all stand together against this awful condition then we will help others understand and hopefully no other women will feel alone in this fight”

Sinead’s first social media post about endometriosis was shared over 20k times and she still receives messages from women all over the world.

She said: “One evening before bed and I thought, that’s it, I’m going to make an awareness post on social media about endometriosis and how I suffer with it.

This took a lot for me to do, I don’t share what I’m feeling with anyone let alone the whole world.”But the following morning, I had hundreds of messages from women all over the globe thanking me.”I was in complete and utter shock. I was speechless, it wasn’t just me who was suffering from this horrendous illness.”It made me so emotional knowing there was so many women out there who feel exactly how I’m feeling.”Sinead has continued to raise awareness across social media and is spreading her very own tips for living with the condition.

She said: “I now try and look at my situation with positivity.”Living with a long term incurable invisible illness is hard but you cannot let endometriosis take over your life.

“You cannot let endometriosis win this battle because it has the power to destroy you and stop your dreams!”You’ve got to find something in each day to reach, even if that’s getting out of bed in the mornings when you’re feeling drained and no emotion towards anything.”One small positive thought in the morning can honestly change your whole day! A negative mind will never give you a positive life.”