Call for more awareness of endometriosis due to hospital admissions
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A charity is calling for more awareness of endometrioisis after 20 women from North Somerset were hospitalised with the chronic condition last year.
NHS Digital data shows Weston Area Health NHS Trust (WAHT) admitted 20 women and girls to hospital with a main diagnosis of endometriosis in 2018-19.
Of these, at least one was an emergency case, with a patient arriving through A&E or rushed to hospital after visiting their GP.
Endometriosis is a chronic condition where tissue similar to the lining of the womb grows elsewhere in the body, such as around the ovaries.
The tissue sheds in the same way that blood does during the menstrual cycle, it but has nowhere to escape, which causes inflammation, pain and a build-up of scar tissue.
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More than a million women aged from puberty to menopause are thought to be affected by endometriosis, with an estimated cost of £8.2billion to the economy.
According to charity Endometriosis UK, it takes an average time of seven-and-a-half years for women to get a diagnosis.
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Chief executive Emma Cox said more awareness is needed among healthcare practitioners and the general public.
She said: "Many people don't even realise the pain they are suffering isn't normal after years of being told they must have a low-pain threshold and to put up with it.
"No-one should have to suffer for years, possibly losing their job and chance to have children because of endometriosis, yet, heartbreakingly, it happens all the time."
There is no cure for endometriosis and it can be difficult to diagnose, and treatments can include painkillers and contraceptives, and in extreme cases, a hysterectomy.
The average age of patients admitted to Weston Area Health Trust in 2018-19 was 36.
The trust says the main symptoms of endometriosis are painful, heavy or irregular periods, pelvic pain and painful bowel movements.
If women find the symptoms of endometriosis are impacting their lives, they are advised to seek the advice of their GP.
WAHT also recommends NHS Choices' advice about Endometriosis, which can be found by logging on to www.nhs.uk/conditions/endometriosis