Endometriosis patients enduring crippling pain 'finally feel believed'

Pelvic pain stomachache concept. Hands of young woman on stomach as suffer on menstruation cramp, indigestion,gastrointestinal,diarrhea  problem
Abdominal pain is one of the tell-tale symptoms of endometriosis. (Getty Images)

Women who endure the pain of endometriosis claim officials are finally waking up to how crippling the condition can be.

Endometriosis occurs when tissue similar to the lining of the womb grows in other parts of the body, usually the ovaries or fallopian tubes.

Each menstrual cycle, these cells break down and bleed, much like a period, except the blood has no way of leaving the body.

Read more: Signs and symptoms of endometriosis

As well as reduced fertility, the main symptom is pain, whether that’s in the abdomen, during sex or when urinating.

Globally, one in 10 women are thought to have endometriosis during their “reproductive years”, totalling 176 million sufferers.

One who knows the pain of the condition all too well is Kamini Naik, 27.

The technology product manager, from London, recalls “passing out on the bus” on the way to school as a teenager from “indescribable pain”.

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

Told she had “really bad periods”, it took 10 years for Naik to be diagnosed.

A 2003 paper published in the journal Human Reproduction looked at 200 endometriosis patients in Brazil.

It found the average time from onset of symptoms to diagnosis was seven years, with some women waiting 12 years.

Kamini Naik was told she had 'really bad periods' for 10 years. (Supplied)

Mother-of-one Zara Dawson, 36, also from London, claims she was on a morphine drip to cope with the pain of endometriosis while pregnant with her now three-year-old son Jaxson.

With endometriosis having no cure, treatment aims to relieve the pain, slow the growth of endometrial tissue and improve fertility, if necessary.

Some even resort to having their womb removed, a hysterectomy, to combat the condition.

Read more: Endometriosis and Fertility: What You Need to Know

Dawson, who is taking part in the UK charity Wellbeing of Women’s #MyEndo campaign said: “I would have a hysterectomy, but then it’s so final and if I wanted to try for another baby in the future, the option has been taken from me.

“I would try anything to live a day pain-free.”

Zara Dawson required morphine while pregnant with her three-year-old son Jaxson. (Supplied)

BBC research into more than 13,500 patients found half had experienced suicidal thoughts as a result of the pain.

This prompted MPs to announce they were launching an inquiry into women’s experience of endometriosis.

Anna Turley, a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Endometriosis that will carry out the inquiry, said the research gave “millions of affected women a voice”.

Patient Rosie Long, 40, told the BBC: “We're finally being believed and listened to.”

The former practising criminal barrister quit the profession when the pain left her unable to stand for prolonged periods of time in court.

Doctors will be part of the inquiry with the aim of improving diagnosis and treatment.

Endometriosis can be difficult to diagnose due to its vague symptoms.

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A GP may “examine the tummy and vagina”.

A woman may then be referred for an ultrasound scan.

The only way to be sure of endometriosis is a laparoscopy, passing a thin tube through a small cut in the abdomen to look for patches of endometriosis tissue.

Pain medication tends to be the go-to.

Hormone treatment aims to limit or stop the production of oestrogen, which “encourages endometriosis tissue to grow and shed”.

These therapies may include the pill, “coil” or contraceptive implant.

In more severe cases, keyhole surgery to cut out the endometrial tissue may be required. A hysterectomy is generally considered a last resort.