'Even women can't identify if something's wrong' - Lynn Ruane on endometriosis diagnosis

The Independent Senator said her early diagnosis has made the condition more manageable
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

17.18 2 Nov 2022

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'Even women can't identify if...

'Even women can't identify if something's wrong' - Lynn Ruane on endometriosis diagnosis

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

17.18 2 Nov 2022

Share this article

Senator Lynn Ruane has said a 'dismissing' of women's healthcare means even they can't identify if there is something wrong.

The Independent Senator said her early endometriosis diagnosis has made the condition more manageable.

Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the womb grows in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes.


It can affect women of any age - including teenagers.

Senator Ruane told Lunchtime Live she has "always" experienced pain, so it is hard to know when it started.

"What felt like more extreme pain to many of the people around me in terms of period pain, but at the time being a teenager I would have just felt that some people get really, really bad pain around that time," she said.

"I don't really know if it started very early on, but I suppose I had my daughter quite young as well.

"[This] meant that I had been introduced to gynecology maybe at a younger age than some, which I think is probably helpful in the long run.

"That's how they found a number of different things over the years, because I was receiving maternity care.

"The pain had always been there, but it was in my early-20s after a number of different appointments - some for cysts on my ovaries, some for pre-cancerous cells - and then the pain just persisted and persisted."

'Lack of understanding'

She said there needs to be more awareness around this, from schools all the way up to the medical profession.

"The amount of women that have ended up needing care for their mental and emotional wellbeing after having to constantly advocate with doctors," she said.

"I think that shows the lack of education and understanding in relation to women's healthcare in Ireland, and in relation to especially this idea around periods.

"As a society, as well as within the health system, we have kind of dismissed women's healthcare so much that even women can't identify that there's something wrong because we've internalised that idea that it's just a bad period."

'I was very lucky'

She said she was very lucky to be diagnosed so early.

"I wouldn't have heard of endometriosis, but it was actually the gynecologist and the team in Tallaght that told me that they think I may have endometriosis," she said.

"Unlike many other women in this scenario, I was very lucky that I was quite young, and it meant that I got treated.

"That early prevention can be helpful, so not putting off for years and years, leaving women in pain for years and years.

"I was in my early-20s when I got treated, whereas some women are in their 30s and 40s and still trying to access treatment."

Senator Ruane said the condition is now more manageable.

"For me probably about 60% of the month I would be at different varying levels of pain," she said.

"I still have a lot of pain now, but it's definitely not as debilitating, and it doesn't get in the way of me going to work and stuff.

"Previously - whether it be sexual intercourse, whether it would be sport, whether it would be even resting or even if I go out for long walks - my ovaries and everything in my pelvic floor begins to get some pain in it.

"After the treatment that all became much more of a dull pain, like dull consistent pain, than a pain that was making me have to stay at home," she added.

Listen back to the full interview below:

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Endometrioses Endometriosis Gynecologist Gynecology Healthcare Independent Senator Lunchtime Live Lynn Ruane Maternity Care Period Pain

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