It is believed that 5 to 10 percent of women suffer from endometriosis -- a condition where cells like those that line the uterus are found in other parts of the body, often causing pain, and sometimes infertility. Yet few know much about it.
© Felicity Cluff suffers with endometriosis
Suzanne Baum spoke to doctors and patients to learn more about the condition, its symptoms, and what can be done to treat it.
Around two million women in the UK - one in 10 - are estimated to have endometriosis. University student Felicity Cluff is one of them.
Cluff was diagnosed with endometriosis at the age of 19, after months of investigations. Her increasingly painful periods were the first sign something was wrong.
“Ever since I hit puberty I have had very painful periods that left me bedridden and in tears for days on end,” she said. “Towards the end of 2008 the crippling pelvic and abdominal pain was so intense I was unable to attend college. I also had issues with sex being very uncomfortable and painful.”
After numerous visits to her GP where she was misdiagnosed several times, Felicity was referred to a gynecologist. After taking down her medical history, the doctor told Cluff he suspected she had endometriosis.
He suggested she undergo a laparoscopy - where a tiny scope is inserted into the pelvis via a small cut near the naval to let the surgeon look around for any endometrial cysts and implants - to confirm the diagnosis.