BBC’s Naga Munchetty reveals she has debilitating womb condition adenomyosis

BBC presenter Naga Munchetty (PA Archive)
BBC presenter Naga Munchetty (PA Archive)

BBC presenter Naga Munchetty has opened up to listeners about the debilitating womb condition that leaves her with “excrutiating” period pain and heavy bleeding.

The BBC Radio 5 Live host described her ordeal with adenomyosis, as she called out the lack of understanding and treatment for the condition, which it is thought could affect as many as one in 10 of women.

“Right now as I sit here talking to you, I’m in pain,” Ms Munchetty began on Monday morning. “Constant, nagging pain - in my uterus, around my pelvis. Sometimes it runs down my thighs. I’ll have some level of pain for the entire show and for the rest of the day, until I go to sleep.”

She says the pain sometimes becomes “stabbing...a pain that takes my breath away, and I can do nothing but sit with it for a minute or curl up to cope”.

On Saturday, as she returned from the theatre with her husband, a flare-up left her barely able to walk from the car to her front door, and her husband was forced to call for an ambulance.

“I screamed non-stop for 45 minutes,” she recalled. “I couldn’t move.”

Ms Munchetty revealed she was only diagnosed with adenomyosis eight months ago, following decades of painful, heavy periods “that made me pass out, sweat, cry, moan, groan, curled up in a tight ball, having to sleep on a towel” and waking up every three hours to change her tampon.

She described how the pain began with her first period at 16, when she visited a shopping centre with her mum and felt a pain so “excrutiating” she felt faint, cried, and vomited.

“[Ever since,] every time my period came I’d pass out, I’d be sick, I’d be doubled over the toilet in pain,” she said. “It’s like being stabbed in the abdomen.”

Meanwhile doctors would tell her she was “just unlucky” to have heavy, painful periods.

But that finally changed eight months ago. After bleeding heavily for 30 days, Ms Munchetty was sent for an ultrasound scan of her womb, and was finally diagnosed with adenomyosis.

While relieved to receive a diagnosis, she was “furious” the condition - which affects “many, many women” - is so little-known she had never heard of it.

“It’s thought as many as one in 10 women of reproductive age may have it, although figures vary widely,” she said. “And yet despite that, there’s no page dedicated to it on the website. And many women who have it say they feel forgotten.”

She added that there is “no cure” except a hysterectomy, which would stop the bleeding but would not prevent the pain, as the adenomyosis had already spread.

The Radio 5 Live show heard from others who live with adenomyosis, including a woman named Jen who at the age of 34 has recently undergone a hysterectomy to remove her womb.

“It feels like I have a bowling ball sat inside my pelvis that’s just pushing out on the bones from the inside out trying to break them, every single day,” she said. “For the last two to three years, there has not been a single day where I haven’t been heavily medicated or bedbound at various points - it’s relentless.”

Adenomyosis - sometimes described as the “evil twin sister” of endometriosis - causes tissue that normally lines the uterus to grows into the muscular wall of the uterus.

Ms Munchetty’s programme has been met with praise from listeners.

Ella Cotton wrote on Twitter: “Can confirm living with adeno and endo is hell. So much respect for Naga talking about this“.

Eleanor Morgan wrote: “Kudos to @TVNaga01 for laying bare what living with adenomyosis is like...It takes so much work to remain present while in pain. Cannot imagine having to do that while broadcasting to the nation.”