Each March, millions worldwide observe Endometriosis Awareness Month in recognition of the estimated 176 million women suffering from the disease worldwide and 1 out of every 10 women in the United States. Yet the disease is often misdiagnosed or missed altogether, says the Endometriosis Foundation of America. Lack of education and awareness is a big reason endometriosis goes undetected. 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.
Endometriosis Awareness Month History
The movement of Endometriosis Awareness began in 1993 when Mary Lou Ballweg was one of eight women who founded it; first as a week-long time to recognize those suffering with endometriosis. Eventually, this blossomed and grew into Endometriosis Awareness Month that’s now observed every year in the United States.
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 is Critical
“Endometriosis can have major physical and psycho-social 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.”
How To Observe #EndometriosisAwarenessMonth
Learn more about the causes of and treatments for endometriosis. Use #EndometriosisAwarenessMonth and EndoMarch to share on social media. Here are some other ways you can participate this month.
Speak up. It’s easy, and it’s effective. If you raise your voice about important issues like this, people will listen. Get talking.
Post on social media; whether it’s fact-sharing, raising awareness, a personal story, or simply sharing this blog… the more we make it known, the better.
Be a part of something. There are tons of endometriosis awareness events that take place in communities all over the country, all year long. Find one near you and attend.
Educate, and be educated. The more we know and spread the truth, the more others will start to care and the closer we will be to a cure or better treatments for endometriosis.