Endometriosis is one of the most common and misunderstood gynecologic disorders. It can significantly impact a person’s quality of life and lead to infertility.
Those closest to the person, especially their partners, can also feel the impact. Opening up about the pain and conceiving can be difficult, but it is essential to their well-being.
Share Your Story
Endometriosis has a profound impact on people’s lives. It affects the quality of life, sexuality, and fertility. It can cause debilitating pain, fatigue, and depression. It can make it challenging to get a diagnosis. It can lead to infertility, making it hard for those affected to work and have a family. It can also make sex painful, which impacts the sexual health of those involved. This is why it’s so important to talk about it.
Lena Dunham has helped break down the endometriosis stigma by sharing her story in a March 2018 Vogue cover and article. Women are taking their experiences and stories online to encourage others and help them to find support. Many are even choosing to put variations of the word “endo” in their Instagram names and bios to empower themselves and others.
This can be done through social media, blog posts, or local events. A simple “I have endometriosis” can start conversations that can make a difference for people who might not know what the disease is or how it impacts their lives.
During a digital storytelling workshop, a group of people with endometriosis co-created their own 3- to 5-minute personal stories about their lived experiences with the illness. The levels were analyzed using a qualitative interpretive description approach. This process allowed for an in-depth exploration of the lived experience and a better understanding of how the participants had moved from private thoughts to comfort in talking openly about endometriosis.
Educating healthcare professionals is crucial in improving diagnosis and treatment for endometriosis. But educating the public is also necessary and can be done through social media campaigns, community forums, and advocacy groups.
Women with painful periods need to know that their symptoms aren’t typical and that help is available. A lack of awareness and a misunderstanding of menstrual pain often leads to dismissal by physicians and delay in getting diagnosed with the condition that affects up to 10% of reproductive-age women.
March is International Women’s Day, Women’s History Month, and, as of this writing, National Endometriosis Awareness Month. Endometriosis is an under-researched and misunderstood disease that can be life-threatening and cause severe chronic pelvic pain, infertility, and bowel dysfunction.
Raise your awareness by talking about it with your friends, family, and coworkers. Please encourage them to look at this website for more information and get involved with organizations and an endometriosis support group working to raise awareness and improve access to care.
Beware of Misinformation
The lack of awareness of this gynecological condition has devastating consequences for those affected. It can impact education, career, relationships, quality of life, and health. It also impacts fertility and can lead to conditions like depression and anxiety.
Women with endometriosis often feel misunderstood. Many people, including healthcare practitioners, dismiss the pain as “normal menstrual pain,” which can add to feelings of isolation and shame. This can lead to a delay in diagnosis, resulting in worsened symptoms, increased health-related costs, long-term pain, and other complications such as infertility.
We need to change this. Taking a stand and raising awareness can help make it easier for those with this condition to get diagnosed. This can be done by encouraging people to talk about their experiences, supporting those who want to do so, and encouraging healthcare practitioners to take the symptoms seriously.
Using the hashtags #endometriosis and #endofacts on social media is an excellent way to spread accurate information about this condition and challenge myths. People are more likely to listen if it comes from someone they know, so sharing your story can be a powerful tool for advocacy. Menstrual well-being should be included in the curriculum in all schools.
Many individuals with endometriosis suffer from debilitating symptoms that impact their quality of life, including severe pain during periods and menstrual cycles, painful sex, pelvic pain, bladder/bowel issues, fatigue, and depression/anxiety. These symptoms can lead to people missing work or school and have severe economic impacts and a direct impact on their family’s finances and quality of life. Those affected by endometriosis also face challenges getting access to symptomatic medical management, especially in low and middle-income countries, due to a lack of awareness about the disease among primary healthcare workers.
There is no way to prevent or cure endometriosis. Still, it can be managed with medications (usually suppositories) to help relieve pain and reduce inflammation or by having surgery to remove the lesions. Treatments vary depending on effectiveness, side effects, long-term safety, costs, and availability.
If you know friends and family struggling with this condition, help them find the right support resources for their specific needs and circumstances by providing links to trusted websites, organizations, or experts. This will make it easier for them to take their next steps and keep talking about the issue. Raising awareness is all about building long-term relationships with your audience and keeping them engaged over time. Please do this by clearly stating your campaign goals and creating a plan.