This month (March) is EndometriosisAwareness Month appointed by The Endometriosis Association ever since 1993. Endometriosis (also commonly referred to as endo) is a chronic condition where the tissue that normally line the uterus grows outside the uterus, affecting at least one in nine women of reproductive age in Australia.
However, this figure could be significantly higher as it is difficult to diagnose endo, on average it can take between seven to 12 years for a woman to be diagnosed.
The month of March is designated as a time for endometriosis patients, also referred to as endo warriors and their families, health organisations and businesses to come together and educate the public about the disease.
One in nine women are diagnosed with the debilitating disease that cannot be cured but can be treated once diagnosed. However, through a combination of healthy lifestyle interventions, pain-relief medications, hormone therapy such as the combined oral contraceptive pill endometriosis can be treated.
The most common symptom associated with endometriosis is chronic pain. In a similar way that the lining of the uterus sheds monthly, endometriosis lesions may swell and bleed. Except, the blood has no way of leaving the body causing debilitating pain.
Lone Hummelshoj, Chief Executive of the World Endometriosis Society suggested that there is low recognition of endometriosis as young women are seeking help from their GP complaining of chronic painful symptoms during their periods.
Doctors can often dismiss these symptoms as dysmenorrhea (pain with menstruation) with no further investigation contributing to the delay in diagnosis and poor timely management of diagnosis and treatment.
Endometriosis Australia aims to increase public awareness of symptoms with the goal of women receiving diagnosis and treatment earlier.
This year’s theme for Endometriosis Awareness month is ‘Endo Enlightened’, where Endometriosis Australia are encouraging landmarks and businesses to dress themselves in a bright yellow light as a demonstration of hope and support for endo warriors.
Over 60 landmarks and buildings across Australia will be glowing during March, and you can get involved by going out seeing the landmarks and taking photos. Share your experiences and tag #IAmEndoEnlightened so that you can help raise awareness for endometriosis.
Individuals can also set themselves the goal of dressing in yellow every day in March to help raise funds towards endometriosis education, research, and awareness. You could challenge yourself to wearing at least one yellow accessory this month. Encourage friends, family, and colleagues to get involved during March.
For more information about endometriosis and how you can be involved this month visit: endometriosisaustralia.org/