Ending the pain for millions of women and teens
Endometriosis Awareness Month – March 2020
MILWAUKEE – March 1, 2020
- A distraught parent who called after his daughter could no longer endure the pain and committed suicide
- A teenager who cried over the almost unbearable pain she’d suffered since her menstrual cycle first began
- The woman who called in tears because her husband wanted to end their marriage because of her pain with sex
These are among the thousands of calls and emails from women, teens and their friends and family members that the Endometriosis Association receives every year. The stories are not unique. The circumstances are not new. The pain – both physical and emotional – is not imagined. And the disease is not limited by age, race or residence.
These are the type of real-life stories that led the Association to launch the first Endometriosis Awareness Month 27 years ago. It’s why the month continues to gain support and recognition as women around the globe gain the courage to overcome the stigma surrounding endometriosis by speaking out about their pain and the need for a cure.
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a hormonal and immune system disease in which tissue (endometrium) similar to the inside lining of the uterus is also found in other areas of the body. It develops into growths that cause pain, bleeding, formation of scar tissue and other medical problems. Symptoms include:
- Painful periods
- Chronic pelvic pain
- Pain with sex
- Heavy or irregular bleeding
- Diarrhea and/or painful bowel movements during periods
Endometriosis cannot be confirmed in routine gynecological exams. Diagnosis is considered uncertain until proven by laparoscopy, a surgical procedure done under anesthesia. A laparoscopy usually shows the location, size, and extent of the growths and can help the doctor and patient make better treatment choices. (Non-surgical diagnostic tests are in development.)
Early diagnosis critical
“Endometriosis can have major physical and psychosocial impacts, as well as long-term implications for a woman’s health,” said Mary Lou Ballweg, president and executive director of the Endometriosis Association, “which is why it’s crucial that women and girls are taken seriously when reporting symptoms to their doctors.”
Studies by the Endometriosis Association and others have shown that the average delay in diagnosing the disease is seven to ten years. “Receiving an early diagnosis provides the best opportunity to reduce the damage of the disease and gives women and girls more information in order to advocate for their own health and well-being,” said Ballweg.
Raising awareness of endometriosis since 1980
The Endometriosis Association is an international self-help organization of women and families with endo, doctors and scientists, and others interested in exchanging information about the disease, offering mutual support and help to those affected by endo, educating the public and medical community about the disease, and promoting and conducting research. During Endometriosis Awareness Month, the Association is encouraging those with endometriosis and those who care for them to talk about the disease in an effort to educate the public, increase awareness and end the pain.
Free Endometriosis Awareness Month materials available
In honor of Endometriosis Awareness Month, free yellow ribbons and stickers which say “Ask Me About Endo” are available in English, Spanish, and French. Informational brochures (the popular “yellow” brochure) in more than 30 languages are also available. Contact the Endometriosis Association at 800-992-3636 or by email at Endo@EndometriosisAssn.org.
In addition to the Association’s website https://EndometriosisAssn.org, more information on endometriosis is available in the Endometriosis Association’s books, available for purchase on the organization’s website.
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