Endometriosis, or Endo for short; there are chances are you may not have heard of it, unless you have it or know someone with it. Despite common misconception or lack of knowledge Endometriosis impacts 1 in 10 female born indivdiuals of reproductive age.
I, like many others grew up not knowing what Endo was, whilst suffering from the very disease.
So what is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is were tissue similar to those normally located in the uterus are found growing outside of this area and can spread outside of your pelvic organs. Although most current research states it is rare for Endo to grow outside of your pelvic organs, many other women I’ve spoken to including myself, all appear to fall into this “rare” category.
Endometriosis is currently incurable, it can cause excruciating and chronic pain and is not solely isolated to periods- the only way to diagnose Endo is via keyhole surgery (but first you’ve got to fight for surgery, which can take years, still not lead to a diagnosis or make things worse).
Endometriosis was listed as one of the top 20 most painful health conditions by the NHS in 2018.
As Endo can be difficult to detect it can often take on average 7.5- 10 years for a diagnosis to be made. The length of time associated with diagnosis can have a devastating impact on womens mental and physical health.
Unfortunately due to lack of medical awareness, funding and research endometiosis often goes undetected. Worldwide there are limited specialists trained and experienced in conducting complex laparoscopy surgeries. All too many times gynecologist who are not trained to deal with Endometriosis are operating on the disease. This often causes more harm than good, and is the very reason I required two surgeries in six months. One performed by a gynecologist, and the second was performed by an endometriosis specialist.
We all know at least 10 women, our mums, aunts, sisters, cousins, nans, best friends, partners, bosses, next door neighbours…but its rare we, as women ever discuss “lady pains” or operations “down there” or god forbid, there is anything wrong with us – we don’t tend to open up and talk about it. As a result those around is don’t speak about it. If we did it could hopefully and possibly change the time taken for diagnosis, it would force doctors and gynes to become more familiar with the disease. The more we talk about things that previous generations have found difficult, the more we can normalise something that is likely to impact at least one female in your life at some point in their life time. Do your research, know your body and push every doctor and gyne you need 💛