A teenager whose terrible pain was dismissed for years as just ‘bad periods’ broke down in tears when a doctor finally diagnosed her with a chronic pain condition.
But after years of suffering while her pain wasn’t taken seriously, Mercer was recently diagnosed with pelvic congestion syndrome, which is finally putting her on the road to treatment.
In a viral video she shared on TikTok, the emotional teen begins sobbing and asks to hug her doctor when she’s told that they’d found the cause of her symptoms.
Finally! A teenager whose terrible pain was dismissed for years as just ‘bad periods’ broke down in tears when a doctor finally diagnosed her with a chronic pain condition
Suffering: Johnelle Mercer, 19, has had very painful periods since she started menstruating
Yes! She spent a year seeing doctors every other week looking for help and recorded the moment she was told a doctor had finally figured out what was wrong
Video of her breaking down in tears at the news has gone viral on TikTok
Mercer told BuzzFeed that her periods had always been painful, and she’d experienced pain and digestive issues through the rest of the month, too.
She suffered from pelvic pain, especially during her periods, as well as lower back pain, an uncontrollable bladder, bloating, pain during sex, heavy breakthrough bleeding, and irritable bowels.
But until recently, she was told that this was unfortunate but normal.
‘My pain was always dismissed as just a difficult period,’ she said.
For a year leading up to her diagnosis, she had a doctor’s appointment every other week, trying to find the cause of her pain.
Finally, while at the hospital, she got the good news from a medical professional that doctors had discovered what was wrong.
In the video that she shared on TIkTok, which has earned 22.1 million views, a woman off camera can be heard telling her, ‘They found the reason for your pain that will be able to be treated.’
The Las Vegas teen had pelvic pain, heavy breakthrough bleeding, bloating, and an uncontrollable bladder
The diagnosis was pelvic congestion syndrome (PCS), a condition that causes chronic pelvic pain
Mercer’s face immediately falls as she becomes overwhelmed with emotion.
‘They did? They really did? You’re not lying to me? They found it?’ she sobs as the woman puts a hand on her head and then holds her hand.
‘Finally — can I give her a hug?’ she asks.
The diagnosis was pelvic congestion syndrome (PCS), a condition that causes chronic pelvic pain.
According to Cedars Sinai, it is caused by veins in the lower abdomen that stop working well, causing blood to build up and enlarge the veins, changing their shape.
Symptoms include pelvic pain that lasts at east six months, pain before or during a period, the sudden need to urinate, and enlarged and distorted veins on the buttocks, vulva, or thighs.
Changing posture, having sex, standing for a long time, and walking can all make the pain worse.
The chronic illness that leaves women writhing in agony: What is pelvic congestion syndrome – and what causes it?
Pelvic congestion syndrome is a painful condition that is thought to be caused by problems with enlarged veins in the pelvic area, however the exact causes are still not known.
The condition is much more common in women who are of childbearing age – and it is suspected that mothers who have had more than one child may be at greater risk of suffering from the syndrome.
However, there is still very little conclusive research about exactly what causes the condition – with medical experts suggesting that a woman’s hormones may well play a key role, because estrogen causes the veins to dilate, which in turn can spark pelvic congestion syndrome.
Because so little is known about the condition, it is not easily diagnosed – and is often confused for other illnesses or issues, including severe period pains.
Diagnosis usually involves a pelvic exam, and may also require urine and blood tests, a pelvic ultrasound, a CT or MRI scan, a diagnostic laparoscopy, or an X-ray.
The most common symptom of pelvic congestion syndrome is pelvic pain that lasts at least six months – and is often made worse by changing postures, having sex, standing for prolonged periods of time, and walking.
Other symptoms include increased pain before or during menstruation, feeling a sudden need to pee, and enlarged veins on the buttocks, genitals, and thighs.
The condition is difficult to diagnose, since pelvic pain can be a result of many conditions
Mercer is now on the way to treatment and has watched her video touch millions of people
Though it is more common in women who have given birth to multiple children, Mercer has never given birth.
The condition is difficult to diagnose, since pelvic pain can be a result of many conditions. Doctors may need urine tests, blood tests, pelvic ultrasound, doppler ultrasound, CT scans or MRIs, laparoscopy, and venography to make a diagnosis
Treatment can vary, but may include hormone drugs, pain relief medicines, or surgery to remove damaged veins, the uterus, or ovaries.
Other procedures like sclerotherapy and embolization can shut off damaged veins.
Mercer is now on the way to treatment and has watched her video touch millions of people.
‘I think this video went viral because so many women can relate to their issues being dismissed in a medical setting,’ she told BuzzFeed.
‘The message I have for people who are in the same situation is just not to give up; get a new doctor if yours won’t listen. I was reaching my point of giving up, and I finally got answers,’ she said.