A woman who has suffered eight years of agony from endometriosis due to misdiagnosis is hoping by sharing her story on Instagram, she can help others in a similar situation.
From the age of 14, Lauren Sharp, of Bromham, started to experience her first symptoms - excruciating periods which left her bed bound, lower back pain, severe stomach cramps throughout the month and frequent UTI's.
She said: "For many years I was fobbed off by medical professionals and told I just have IBS and heavy/painful periods. I was made to feel the pain was all in my head and just a fabrication of the imagination for years."
And by sharing her personal journey on Instagram, Lauren hopes to help others in her situation, especially during lockdown.
For Lauren, it took eight years for her to finally receive a diagnosis of endometriosis - a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the womb starts to grow in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes, causing severe pain.
And - it was only then that Lauren, now aged 25, had her first round of surgery in 2018.
She said: "I was told this surgery would sort out all of my problems and the endometriosis would not return. Little did I know this certainly wasn't the case."
Lauren again suffered severe pain and had zero energy during her final year of university.
She said: "I continued taking the maximum dose of strong pain killers which sometimes didn't even touch the pain but still I found the fighter in me and carried on with my days."
But it wasn't until her grandmother paid for her to have a private consultation in December 2019 that things changed for Lauren.
She said: "This was the first time I felt as if I had been listened to and believed by a medical professional straight away. He suspected I had deep infiltrating endometriosis and he was right."
And on November 2020, Lauren underwent five hours of complex surgery to remove stage four deep infiltrating endometriosis from various places, including many of her vital organs.
She said: "I feel so strongly about raising awareness of endometriosis and it is my mission to do this which is why I created an Instagram page to share my personal journey with others and offer help and support to other women out there.
"I'm hoping to help women during lockdown."
"And through Instagram, my aim is to give them hope, act as a survival guide and help prevent them from being misdiagnosed."
Within the space of two months, she has already got more than 1,000 followers - and now she's even been offered a volunteering position with Endometriosis UK to help with the charity's social media campaigns.
She added: "In time I truly hope the diagnosis time is shortened significantly as currently on average it takes 7.5 years to receive a diagnosis which is totally unacceptable. I am one in 10 - there's so many other women out there who suffer with this condition."
You can follow Lauren on Instagram @journeywithendo_