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Woman suffered in silence 'for years' before condition diagnosed

The pain was so excruciating, 24-year-old Red Hill woman Libby Metz could not describe it.

She was plagued by debilitating endometriosis for years, with her only relief coming after receiving laparoscopic surgery to remove pain-causing tissue in her pelvic region.

''I've only just had my first pain-free week in as long as I can remember,'' Ms Metz said. ''You can't describe what it's like.''

Endometriosis is a gynaecological medical condition in which cells from the lining of the uterus appear and flourish outside of the uterus, adhering to organs within the pelvis.

One in 10 women across the globe suffer from the painful condition.

Ms Metz suffered silently for years, first encountering the pain while she was still in high school.

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''There were some days in university where I struggled to get out of bed and go to lectures and tutorials,'' she said. She was bounced between doctors, who dismissed the condition as simple period pain.

''I had three doctors who didn't know what it was,'' she said. ''One of them sent me to an ultrasound, which came out clear, because it can't be diagnosed by ultrasound.

''Last year, after I finished university, I decided to go to a gynaecologist who was able to diagnose me correctly.''

Misdiagnosis is a common problem with endometriosis, according to coordinator and researcher at the Canberra Endometriosis Centre, Melissa Parker.

''There's often a long delay in getting a diagnosis,'' she said. ''Patients are often left waiting up to nine years.''

An information session on pelvic pain and endometriosis will be held on Wednesday night at the Canberra Hospital auditorium in the main foyer.

The sessions, at 3.30pm and 6.30pm, are intended to help women understand the complexity of these conditions, provide practical information about self-managing pain, and to understand how they can be diagnosed and treated.

''The biggest issue is that people don't often recognise the symptoms,'' Ms Parker said.

The information session will feature author, surgeon and Adelaide-based gynaecologist Susan Evans, as well as local guest speakers.

People can RSVP to endometriosis@act.gov.au and specify which session they wish to attend.