The England women’s football captain, Leah Williamson, has revealed that she suffers from endometriosis and feared the condition that, among other things, causes agonising period pain, would jeopardise her participation in last summer’s European Championship.
Although Williamson ended up leading the Lionesses to glory against Germany in the Wembley final, anxiety that her endometriosis would flare up and leave her lying in agony on a bathroom floor proved a near constant companion during the tournament.
“I was like, it cannot happen [a flare up during the Euros],” said the Arsenal F.C defender in an interview with Women’s Health magazine. “It [not being able to play] is a big fear when you get to a tournament not injured.”
Such worries were exacerbated by a head injury the 25-year-old suffered shortly before the Euros that eventually provoked a bout of particularly acute menstrual pain.
“I had a concussion which they say can really impact your next period and it was bad – like, really bad. You know when you’re on the bathroom floor and, like, can’t move. When it’s too late to take the tablets because I’m, like, in it now.”
In October Emma Hayes, the Chelsea Football Club manager and a long-term #endometriosis sufferer, highlighted an often little-publicised condition after being rushed into hospital for an emergency hysterectomy after her pain became unbearable.
Williamson is happy to add her voice to calls for greater awareness of a problem that disrupts so many female lives. “You get to a certain age when you actually say this is a really big f…ing problem,” she said.
“I’m pretty sure if men had periods we’d have figured out a way to stop them by now without doing any damage,” she said, adding that period pain remains “a really big f…ing problem” for female athletes.
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