Leah Williamson reveals how endometriosis affects her game: ‘I’m on the floor’

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Leah Williamson, captain of the England women’s football team, has opened up about how endometriosis affects her periods and ability to play.

The 25-year-old was diagnosed with the condition in 2021, while recovering from a hamstring injury.

She said that before playing in the UEFA Women’s Euro in July, she suffered a concussion, which made her endometriosis flare up so badly she “couldn’t move” from the bathroom floor.

In a new interview as the January cover star of Women’s Health, Williamson said getting her period following the concussion was “really bad”.

“You know when you’re on the bathroom floor and literally like, ‘I can’t move’. When it’s too late to take the tablets because I’m like, in it now,” she told magazine.

Endometriosis is a condition where tissue that is similar to the lining of the womb grows in other places. It can grow on the ovaries and fallopian tubes and is a long-term condition that can have a significant impact on quality of life.

Patients with endometriosis can experience symptoms such as debilitating period pain and difficulty getting pregnant.

Williamson also revealed that she was especially worried her condition would flare up before England faced Norway in the Euro semi-final.

“I was like, ‘It cannot happen’. Like, I actually won’t be able to play. [Having an endometriosis flare up] is a big fear when you get to a tournament not injured… I don’t change too much around [my cycle] now. Unless I’m on the floor. And then I’m like, ‘I won’t make it today’,” she said.

“I’m a professional athlete, I’ve always been like, ‘Let’s get on with it’.”

But the footballer added that now, she feels “this is a really big f***ing problem”.

“I’m pretty sure if men had periods we would have figured out a way to stop them by now without doing any damage,” she said.

Williamson led the Lionesses to victory during the tournament in July, which marks the first time England has won the UEFA Women’s Championship title. They beat Germany 2-1 after extra time in the final, which was held at Wembley Stadium.

Alongside other key figures in the team, Williamson is set to receive an honour in the King’s new year’s honours list. She, head coach Sarina Wiegman and player of the tournament Beth Mead are set to be appointed MBE, OBE or CBE.