What is endometriosis? The painful condition explained

As a Yorkshire teenager opens up about her painful battle with the little-talked about condition, we explore what it is.

By Ruby Kitchen
Monday, 15th July 2019, 7:00 am
Endometriosis affects as many women as diabetes
Endometriosis affects as many women as diabetes

Read More

Read More
Yorkshire teenager opens up about painful battle with endometriosis

Yet it is not often talked about, as for many it can be very private.

What is endometriosis?

Sign up to our daily newsletter

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

- Depression/isolation

- 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.