Health Watch
Highlights:
  • Endometriosis Awareness Week is held in the first week of March every year
  • It aims to create awareness about endometriosis among women of reproductive age
  • This will help them to develop a better understanding of endometriosis and empower them to effectively cope with the disease

Endometriosis Awareness Week is observed in the first week of March (Monday to Sunday). Hence, this year it is being observed on 2-8 March 2020. During this week, patients, health professionals, charities and organizations come together to share information and resources to shed light on the condition in a bid to generate much-needed awareness. The week-long celebrations also aim to improve our understanding of the disease and find better ways to treat it.
Endometriosis Awareness Week: Letís Stop the Silent Suffering!

Aims of Endometriosis Awareness Week

The main aim of Endometriosis Awareness Week is to generate awareness, especially among women, so that they can have a better understanding of the disease. It also aims to weed-out taboos associated with women openly talking about their periods and other personal health issues. Another objective of the celebrations is to encourage medical professionals to seek better practices to help those affected by endometriosis so that they can have another chance at life.

History of Endometriosis Awareness Week

Endometriosis Awareness Week was established in 1993 by Mary Lou Ballweg, along with eight other like-minded women. It has been organized ever since by the Endometriosis Association, the world's first association exclusively dedicated to endometriosis, which has a network comprising of 66 countries across the globe. Mary Lou Ballweg is the Founder, President and Director of the Endometriosis Association, which is based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.

Essential Aspects of Endometriosis that All Women Should Know

Endometriosis is a chronic disease in which the tissue lining the inner layer of the uterus (endometrium) becomes dislodged and is transported elsewhere, such as the fallopian tubes and ovaries. The endometrial tissue has also been found to grow in the abdominal cavity, urinary bladder, and bowel. The condition causes much suffering for women, as it takes many years before a confirmed diagnosis is established. It can have devastating consequences for affected women because of extreme pain, which severely impacts their physical, mental and emotional well-being. It also has a huge financial and social impact.


Common symptoms include the following: Some treatments for endometriosis include anti-inflammatory painkillers (ibuprofen), contraceptives (combined pill or contraceptive patch), the hormone-releasing intrauterine system (Mirenaģ), and surgery.

Misperceptions about Endometriosis

There are several misperceptions and myths surrounding endometriosis, which include the following:
  • Endometriosis is just a 'bad period'
  • Endometriosis pain can be reduced by common painkillers (paracetamol)
  • Endometriosis can be cured by hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus)

Endometriosis: Facts & Figures

  • 176 million women or 10 percent of the world's population are affected by endometriosis
  • Endometriosis is the biggest cause of infertility in women
  • Prevalence of endometriosis is 30-50 percent in women suffering from infertility
  • 1 in 10 women of reproductive age develop endometriosis in the UK
  • It takes almost 7.5 years to get a confirmed diagnosis for endometriosis
  • Economic burden of endometriosis is £8.2 billion annually in the UK alone
  • The exact cause of endometriosis is unknown
  • There is currently no cure for endometriosis

Ways to Raise Awareness During Endometriosis Awareness Week

There are numerous ways to raise awareness about endometriosis, a few of which are highlighted below:
  • Talking to People: Spreading the message by word-of-mouth is one of the best ways for impactful communication with people. Bringing up the topic of endometriosis during conversations with friends, colleagues and family members will increase their understanding and make them want to know more about the condition
  • Taking to Social Media: Going online on social media and sharing facts about endometriosis as well as personal experiences will get people interested in the condition. Even seeing the word 'endometriosis' for the very first time could create a buzz. The hashtag #EndometriosisAwarenessWeek and #EndoMarch should be used for all posts on social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and others
  • Joining an Event: Participating in any of the numerous events and activities organized on the occasion of Endometriosis Awareness Week will not only be fun, but also raise awareness about the disease among the general public
  • Sending a Petition: Signing and sending a petition to the relevant authority could help to improve the quality of life for those suffering from endometriosis by initiating educational programs and ensuring faster healthcare delivery, including timely diagnosis and treatment for endometriosis patients. Petitions can be submitted to national level authorities or to international petition sites, such as Change.org and 38Degrees, among others
  • Educating Women: It is very important that newly diagnosed women should be educated about endometriosis. In this regard, online educational resources, books and other educational material could be accessed to gain knowledge and develop a better understanding of the condition
  • Sharing Real Life Stories: Sharing personal experiences pertaining to endometriosis through social media, blogs, as well as print and electronic media will prompt women to seek medical advice if they can relate their own experience with those shared by others suffering from the condition
  • Wearing 'Yellow': Yellow is universally known to be the color for endometriosis awareness, which was first adopted in 1980. Therefore, wearing something in 'Yellow', such as awareness ribbons, lapel pins, hats, T-shirts or other apparel, will not only show solidarity for women with endometriosis, but also raise crucial funds for their care

Conclusion

From the foregoing discussion, it is evident that much more needs to be done to improve the plight of women suffering silently from endometriosis. It is of the utmost importance to recognize and understand the symptoms of endometriosis.

Women should be encouraged to voice their concerns about their health. Most importantly, no woman should suffer in silence!

References :
  1. Endometriosis: Diagnosis and Management - National Institute for Health and Care Management (NICE), UK - (https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng73/chapter/Recommendations#endometriosis-information-and-support)
  2. 10 Things You Should Know about Endometriosis - Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists (RCOG), UK - (https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/blog/10-things-you-should-know-about-endometriosis/)
  3. Endometriosis Facts and Figures - Endometriosis UK - (https://endometriosis-uk.org/endometriosis-facts-and-figures)


Source: Medindia

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