UK woman Carla Cressy has started a petition calling for endometriosis awareness to be featured in high school education after being misdiagnosed for over a decade.
The 26-year-old suffered from abdominal pain and sensitivity from the age of 14 but was incorrectly diagnosed with IBS.
"It's a horrific condition and if I was knew the signs years ago I would have pushed for an earlier diagnosis,” she told The Sun.
“I had never even heard of endometriosis until early last year. Doctors made me feel stupid, as if it was normal to be bleeding so irregular and fainting.”
She’s now undergone three rounds of surgery to treat the debilitating disease – in which tissue from inside the womb grows outside of it – and is facing early menopause due to the medication she’s taking. Synarel (also known as Nafarelin) reduces the body’s production of oestrogen produced in the body, preventing the growth of endometriosis tissue. However it often causes pseudo-menopausal symptoms in young women.
Unfortunately, Carla’s experience is an all too common occurrence for many young women.
It was recently revealed that it takes on average seven to eight years for women to be diagnosed with endometriosis, with GPs and specialists frequently overlooking or discounting symptoms.
If you're suffering from symptoms like heavy, painful periods, pain during sex, gastrointestinal and urinary issues and fertility issues, speak to a medical professional.
Even though there isn't a “cure” for endometriosis, it's still crucial to know your diagnosis as early as possible. Not only will it help you find the best treatment option possible, but it may give you more time to think about and preserve your fertility.