The debilitating condition suffered by a fifth of women

Louise Redknapp is taking part in Strictly, but for years she suffered from endometrosis. Catherine Scott reports.

Louise Redknapp
Louise Redknapp

Singer Louise Redknapp is taking part in the new series of Strictly cum Dancing. But what many people might not know is that Louise spent years in pain suffering from enodmetriosis.

Endometriosis is a common condition where tissue that behaves like the lining of the womb is found outside the womb causing extreme pain. One woman who know how that feels is Karen Watson from Leeds. The mother of two grown up children started with the symptoms as a teenager.

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“I’ve had crippling pains and heavy bleeding since I was 14 years old. It settled down a little when I had my children, then over the last ten years it got a lot worse,” says Karen.

Kanre Watson suffered in silence for 14 years

“I suffered from it for about 20 days of each month. Sometimes it was so bad that I cried with the pain.”

Like many woman, Karen thought her condition was something that she ‘had to put up with’. She tried to live a normal life and carried on working but the pain became debilitating over the last few years. Two years ago she went to see her GP and was referred to Tim Broadhead, consultant gynaecologist at Spire Leeds Hospital. An ultrasound scan revealed two ovarian cysts, each measuring almost 5cm. Keyhole surgery revealed severe endometriosis, which was also affecting her lower bowel and bladder along with some fibroids on her womb. “It was such a relief to finally know what was causing it so it could be be treated,” says Karen.

“Without surgery Karen would have faced the prospect of several more years of heavy and painful periods causing major disruption to her quality of life and ability to function normally on a daily basis,” says Mr Broadhead. “After considering the various options we decided that, in Karen’s case, hysterectomy and removal of the ovaries was the best option for a permanent and long-term solution.”

Karen describes the surgery as ‘life changing’. “Although I was young at 47 to have a hysterectomy was an easy decision. Life had become so grim with the pain and disruption.

Kanre Watson suffered in silence for 14 years

“I feel so much better. It almost feels like I haven’t had surgery and there’s only a tiny scar to remind me. I’m very happy to get my life back on track.”

Other treatments include laser surgery which is what Louise Redknapp had before successfully having two children via IVF.