A young woman who coughs blood every month during her period has learnt that she suffers from a rare condition that causes her menstrual fluid to flow into her windpipe.
The unnamed woman, 20, discovered that she had the condition known as endometriosis during a recent visit to an OB-GYN clinic in Taiwan's western Changhua County.
Tsai Fong-po, the physician running the private facility known as Dr. Tsai & Dr. Chen's Women Clinic, said the patient came in complaining of intense menstrual pain but began suffering from a fit of coughs while he was performing an ultrasound.
The medic was shocked to see the woman cough up what appeared to be blood, but the patient herself did not seem surprised.
"I cough every time I get my period," she was quoted as having told the doctor, adding: "I started at 17 and I'm already used to it."
"It's very normal," she explained.
Doctor Tsai said he had already been checking for endometriosis - which causes tissue that normally lines the uterus to grow outside the uterus - when the woman's coughing began.
Tests revealed that the disorder had caused tissue to grow inside her trachea - and that she was essentially choking on her menstrual fluid every time she had her period.
Doctor Tsai noted that while endometriosis is not that uncommon, it usually occurs around the individual's pelvis. In rare cases, it can happened in the abdomen, intestines, the trachea and even the nasal cavity, he added.
There are believed to be fewer than 50 documented cases in the world, Tsai said.
There is no known cure for endometriosis, but the young woman's symptoms can be treated with pain medication or surgery.