Health professionals in the Australia have been forced to apologise to a young woman after they misdiagnosed her endometriosis and blamed her symptoms on a 'bad diet'.
Karlie Wilkinson suffered from chronic pain and severe cramps for years before she was diagnosed with the condition.
After seeing multiple doctors, she was given a number of inaccurate explanations for her symptoms including bad period pains, appendicitis and a bad diet.
Some medics even suggested that the pain was all in her head.
At the age of 19, Karlie was finally diagnosed with endometriosis, a condition in which the layer of tissue that normally covers the inside of the uterus grows outside of it.
According to figures released by The Endometriosis Association of Ireland, approximately 10% of Irish women suffer from the condition and yet there remains a distinct lack of conversation around the topic.
But we're not alone. Women all across the world face difficulties in getting their symptoms acknowledged, and often feel isolated when a diagnosis is made.
And it's for this reason that Karlie set up a petition to get doctors to apologise for not taking her symptoms seriously.
With over 110,000 signatures, the successful campaign paved the way for Australia's medical community to recognise the condition as a genuine illness.
“I had no idea what was wrong with me but I was in ridiculous pain all the time and would sometimes bleed for a whole month,” says Karlie according to Metro.
“As I got older, it became so unbearable I ended up in the emergency room at least five times.”
“They would do different tests, ultrasounds and x-rays but they all came back normal and they said it was all in my head.”
She went on to describe how she was often made feel stupid when her symptoms were treated like a joke.
“There was even a couple of times that they seemed to make a joke out of it and I thought “if only you could feel what was happening to me right now.”
Since setting up the petition, Karlie has received an official response from Federal Health Minister, Greg Hunt, stating: “The plan will focus on how to improve the lives of women who face this terrible condition.”
“Diagnosis of the condition currently takes on average around eight to nine years, placing a significant toll on individuals, families and the community.”
“This condition should have been better acknowledged and acted upon long ago but today we are taking action so the struggle that women face will no longer be silent or their battles private.”
For more information on the symptoms and treatment of endometriosis visit www.endometriosis.ie.