Why aren’t we helping women with endometriosis?

Endometriosis is hard enough to deal with. But, even worse, women who suffer from this condition face a multitude of barriers and obstacles in finding help and relief from their suffering.

Affecting roughly 10 per cent of reproductive-aged women (approximately 200 million women and teenagers globally), endometriosis is “a systemic, inflammatory disease that occurs when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows elsewhere in the body. With symptoms like infertility, chronic pelvic pain, painful periods, painful sex, back pain, and intestinal problems, endometriosis can negatively affect all aspects of a woman’s daily life, including her physical and emotional well-being and productivity,” an article from The Society for Women’s Health Research said.

It’s also an expensive condition. It is estimated that health care expenses for the condition in the U.S. total $69.4 billion annually.

And despite how burdensome it is for women who suffer from it, “endometriosis is underfunded and under-researched, greatly limiting understanding of the disease and slowing much-needed innovation in diagnostic and treatment options,” said Dr. Rebecca Nebel, director of scientific programs at the Society for Women’s Health Research in the article.

In acknowledging these barriers, a Society for Women’s Health Research working group released an expert review, which can be found in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The review recognizes what requires improvement in terms of diagnosis, access to care, treatment, and the future of research for the condition.

The following are examples of what the working group highlighted in regard to the barriers women face in receiving treatment for endometriosis, the article said:

  • “Societal normalization of women’s pain and stigma around menstrual issues
  • “Lack of knowledge and awareness about the disease
  • “Absence of noninvasive diagnostics
  • “Limitations of current treatment options
  • “Difficulties in accessing care”

Causes of endometriosis are not yet known, which leads to delays in proper diagnosis of the condition for seven to 12 years.

Initiatives such as these from the Society for Women’s Health Research are what is needed in order to assist those suffering from endometriosis. We need proper treatment for these people, and we need it now.

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