Yet it is not often talked about, as for many it can be very private.
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is the name given to the condition where cells like those in the lining of the womb are found elsewhere in the body.
Each month these cells build up and then break down but, unlike the cells in the womb that leave the body as a period, this blood has no way to escape.
According to Endometriosis UK, one in 10 women are affected, around 1.5m in the UK.
Endometriosis, pronounced en- doh-mee-tree-oh-sis, can affect all women and girls of a childbearing age, regardless of race or ethnicity.
It is a chronic and debilitating condition that causes painful or heavy periods. It may also lead to infertility, fatigue and bowel and bladder problems.
Among women struggling with fertility, the prevalence can be as high as 30 to 50 per cent.
On average, it takes seven and a half years for women to get a diagnosis, with many people unaware of the condition.
Endometriosis can impact on womens' lives in many ways, including;
- Chronic pain
- Fatigue/lack of energy
- Problems with a couple’s sex life/relationships
- An inability to conceive
- Difficulty in fulfilling work and social commitments
The cause of endometriosis is unknown and there is no definite cure.
Treatment is aimed at easing symptoms and improving the quality of life for sufferers.
Some of the treatments available include surgery, hormone treatment, and pain relief.