Period Pain Misdiagnosed as Digestive Illness Leaves British Model with Pus-Filled Cysts and Early Menopause

surgical drain
Carla Cressy had to have pus-filled cysts drained from her body to prevent the pus from poisoning her blood. She hopes her story will help others avoid the same suffering. Photo Courtesy of Carla Cressy

A 26-year-old model suffering from period pain was misdiagnosed with a digestive illness, ruining her organs, her career and her social life. She is hoping to warn girls about her unfortunate situation so that they do not experience the same fate.

Carla Cressy, of Essex, England, was diagnosed with IBS at age 14 after complaining of stomach pain and sensitivity, but nearly a decade later learned that the true source of her pain was actually endometriosis, The Independent reported. In a recent petition Cressy created to help raise endometriosis awareness for women ages 14 to 18 in school, the budding model explained that if her illness had been caught earlier it may not have become as severe.

"I was misdiagnosed for almost nine years to the point where I couldn't pass stool, and I was experiencing heavy bleeding for three to four weeks at a time, causing me to faint regularly," Cressy told Newsweek in an email. "I now have frozen pelvis disease, where my endometriosis is so severe that my organs are stuck together."

Related: Endo what? New documentary film aims to educate women and the medical community about endometriosis

Cressy is on Prostap injections to control her bleeding and prepare her for surgery, but as a side effect she is already experiencing symptoms of early menopause. Prostap is a synthetic hormone that lowers or stops the production of estrogen, when used for an extended period of time. In women with endometriosis, the drug can help stop the excessive bleeding associated with the condition.

Cressy's frozen pelvis disease is a condition brought on by her endometriosis in which her uterus, bowel, fallopian tubes, and ovaries became fused together due to scar tissue, The Daily Mail reported. In addition, endometriosis also triggered the growth of pus-filled cysts in Cressy's stomach that needed to be surgically drained to prevent poisoning.

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Although the true cause of endometriosis is not clear, the most popular theory suggests the illness stems from retrograde menstrual flow, where the uterine lining is unable to properly shed during a woman's monthly period and as a result some of this blood and tissue is reabsorbed by the body, either through the fallopian tubes or into the pelvis. It's important to note that while some researchers suspect this may be the underlying cause of endometriosis, not all women who experience retrograde flow will go on to develop endometriosis. In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health, most women experience some degree of retrograde menstrual flow during their periods.

Cressy hopes that raising awareness about endometriosis will help prevent other girls from going undiagnosed as long as she did, and to have their endometriosis treated before its becomes too severe.

Carla Cressy believes that if her endometriosis was diagnosed earlier than it would not have become so severe. Photo Courtesy of Carla Cressy

"I believe if I knew of endometriosis and the signs I would have pushed my doctors for a diagnosis," Cressy told Newsweek. "Instead I had never even heard of the disease until after I was diagnosed."