rté alliance naomi long northern ireland seán orourke
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Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Seán O'Rourke, the 46-year-old said she had been living with extreme pain since she was in her teens, but that her condition was only diagnosed in recent years.
"Aggressive endometriosis" caused the Alliance Party leader to collapse during a live leadership debate in the run up to the UK general election earlier this year.
Endometriosis is a condition where tissue that behaves like the lining of the womb (endometrium) is found in other parts of the body.
It can appear in many different places, including the ovaries, fallopian tubes, inside the stomach, and in or around the bladder or bowel.
She said women can feel embarrassed, and believe that it is taboo to talk about certain aspects of their health.
She said women can "pass off" pain, believing that it is normal", adding that "more women need to recognise that heavy bleeding and extreme pain are not normal" and that they should "go to their doctor and have correct blood tests".
Ms Long said the symptoms, which include severe stomach cramps and upsets, can be confused with other issues, adding that she had previously been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
She believes women’s lives are being put at risk because they are not comfortable discussing fertility-related problems.
Ms Long opted to have a full hystorectomy in August of this year because she believed it would be the "best way to manage the pain".