This Woman’s Crippling Endometriosis Was Dismissed As ‘Period Pain’

A UK woman has opened up about the crippling impact of endometriosis—which was initially dismissed as period pain—on her personal and professional life. Sinead Smythe suffered stomach cramps since age 11 and was eventually diagnosed with endometriosis in 2016, the Daily Mail reports. As a result of her condition, Sinead says she’s had two operations, […]

by | Mar 22, 2018

A UK woman has opened up about the crippling impact of endometriosis—which was initially dismissed as period pain—on her personal and professional life.

Sinead Smythe suffered stomach cramps since age 11 and was eventually diagnosed with endometriosis in 2016, the Daily Mail reports.

As a result of her condition, Sinead says she’s had two operations, lost two jobs and suffered excruciating pain on a frequent basis for years.

“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 explained.

“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, anyone who does not understand calls it “a bad period.”

Endometriosis is a common, incurable disease that occurs when tissue grows out of the uterus, which can result in intense pelvic pain, menstrual abnormalities and even infertility.

RELATED: Australian Government Makes Groundbreaking Announcement For Endometriosis Sufferers

Prior to being diagnosed with endometriosis, Sinead was told she had Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, The Mirror reports.

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

“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.”

Sinead explained that in addition to battling pain, anxiety and stress, endometriosis’s potential impact on her fertility has also been difficult to come to terms with.

RELATED: This Woman Is Facing Early Menopause After Doctors Misdiagnosed Her Endometriosis For A Decade

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

“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.

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

But Sinead has taken up the challenge of raising awareness about endometriosis and sharing her own experiences on her blog.

“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,” she said, the Mail reports.

“Living with a long-term invisible illness is hard but you cannot let endometriosis take over.”

Her advice to other women battling endometriosis?

“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,” she recommends.

“One small positive thought in the morning can honestly change your whole day! A negative mind will never give you a positive life.”

One in ten women in Australia have endometriosis. You can find more information and support on the Endometriosis Australia website.

This article originally appeared on Marie Claire.

RELATED: 5 Signs You Might Have Endometriosis And Not Even Know It

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Women Fleeing Domestic Violence Can Now Receive A One-Off Support Payment

It’s been labelled the shadow pandemic and the fact remains that for many women across Australia, domestic violence is a lived reality that doesn’t discriminate by age, occupation, or socio-economic status. Researchers have found that during Covid-19 lockdowns, there was a surge in family and domestic violence, with agencies experiencing a surge in demand as nearly half their clients reported an increase in controlling behaviours. 

As many who have lived through such turmoil and trauma can attest, the roadmap to fleeing such situations at home can be fraught with challenges and extremely difficult to navigate, particularly when such bureaucracy makes it even harder. Now, it’s been announced that women fleeing a violent relationship will be given a one-off $5,000 payment as part of a federal government trial scheme. 

Known as the “escaping violence payment scheme,” the government has set aside $144.5 million over the next two years to give women $1,500 cash, with the remainder to pay for goods and services, bond, school fees and other necessaries to establish a new safe home. UnitingCare Network will be tasked with delivering the payments while helping link women and their children with relevant community services. 

As the Daily Telegraph reports, “An analysis of domestic violence data by the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that while it is more common for women from poorer areas, women from high socio-economic areas are not immune from experiencing partner violence.”

As Women’s Safety Minister Anne Ruston explained, the trial has been introduced with the aim to help women overcome the financial barriers that might deter them from leaving a violent relationship. “We know that financial hardship as well as economic abuse - which may involve interfering with work or controlling or withholding money - reduces women’s ability to acquire and use money and makes it difficult to leave violent relationships,” she said. 

“The payments will assist people who need financial support to leave. We know the size of the house a woman is fleeing doesn’t matter. Often she bundles the kids into the car, maybe the dog too and they leave with nothing more than the clothes on their backs.”

To be eligible for a payment, women must be facing financial stress and have some evidence of domestic violence such as a referral from a family and domestic violence service provider with a risk assessment and safety plan, or an AVO, court order or police report. As UnitingCare Australia National Director Claerwen Little said, “We believe that all people, especially women and their children, have the right to live freely and without fear, and this payment is an important step forward to ending violence against women and children.”

If you require immediate assistance, please call 000.

If you’d like to speak to someone about domestic violence, please call the 1800 

Respect hotline on 1800 737 732 or chat online. 

Under 25? You can reach Kids Helpline at 1800 55 1800 or chat online.