HUNDREDS of women in Oxfordshire were admitted to hospital last year with a chronic condition that can cause extremely painful periods.

Charity Endometriosis UK said that women forced to go to hospital with endometriosis are being 'let down' by health services, as they are not getting the treatment they need elsewhere.

NHS Digital data shows there were around 285 hospital admissions with a main diagnosis of endometriosis in the Oxfordshire CCG area in 2019-20.

This was down from 310 the year before.

Last year, 30 (​11 per cent) were classed as emergencies.

Endometriosis is a chronic condition in which tissue similar to the lining of the womb grows elsewhere in the body, such as around the ovaries. In extremely rare cases it can occur in men.

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It affects around 10 per cent of women and has no known cure.

The tissue sheds in the same way that blood does during the menstrual cycle, but has nowhere to escape to, causing inflammation, pain, and a build-up of scar tissue.

Data from the 195 CCGs in England shows hospitals admitted 21,900 patients with the condition last year, including a record 2,905 emergency admissions.

Endometriosis Awareness Month, which takes place every March, aims to raise greater recognition for the disease, but Endometriosis UK said the figures show there is still a lack of understanding.

Some symptoms of endometriosis include painful, heavy or irregular periods; pelvic pain, painful bowel movements, pain when urinating, pain during or after sex, difficulty getting pregnant and fatigue.

An NHS spokeswoman said: "NHS staff have made huge efforts to maintain care for those patients who have needed it urgently throughout the pandemic and are bringing back more services safely."