INTIMINA Talks About Endometriosis, The Disease That Affects 1 In 10 Women
How much do you know about endometriosis? Have you ever thought about this serious condition? Do you know how many women it affects globally? Did you know that it takes on average eight years to be diagnosed with endometriosis?
One in 10 women worldwide suffer from endometriosis, yet despite the seriousness of this disease, it takes an average of eight years just to get a diagnosis. That’s eight long years of enduring terrible pain and the feeling of not being heard.
To raise awareness about the length of time it takes to be diagnosed with endometriosis, we’ve created a film titled ‘The Wait’ that features eight-year-old children whose age symbolises this horrifying statistic.
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the womb starts to grow in other places, such as the ovaries and Fallopian tubes.
Endometriosis can affect women of any age.
It’s a long-term condition that can have a significant impact on your life.
Why does it take so long to be diagnosed with endometriosis?
- It may take a long time to report symptoms to a doctor, when you’re not familiar with menstrual cramps after just starting your period. It can also be uncomfortable speaking to a doctor about issues such as pain during sex, or difficult to describe the symptoms clearly.
- There is a widespread belief that periods are painful so women may take longer to realise their pain is unusually debilitating and they may have to be persuaded by friends or family to seek help.
- Healthcare professionals may assume painful periods are normal, even when severe and needing pain relief or the contraceptive pill. It can be difficult examining young teenagers for endometriosis as the findings are not specific, so it may longer to refer women to a gynaecologist for investigation. Women may be sent to a urologist or gastroenterologist first as the way in which endometriosis presents varies from person to person and doesn’t necessarily relate to the extent of disease.
“The reasons behind the delay are wide-ranging, but nevertheless, every possible action needs to be taken to drive down the wait time for people suffering from endometriosis, and education and awareness are vital to make a commitment to ensure this happens,” says INTIMINA UK expert gynaecologist, Dr. Shree Datta.
It’s important to talk to professionals if you are suspicious about some of the symptoms. The earlier you get your diagnosis, the earlier you will be able to find help for yourself.
What are the symptoms?
Common symptoms which suggest endometriosis include cyclical pelvic pain, pain during intercourse, or pain leading up to and during your periods. You may also experience a change in bowel habits, tiredness, and difficulty conceiving, so seek medical advice early.
Keeping a pain and symptom diary is the best way to describe all of your symptoms before seeing a doctor. Specifically, note down when you experience symptoms in relation to your periods, whether they are getting worse, and how they affect your daily activities.
Diagnosis and treatment
There is no cure for endometriosis. The first step is to visit your gynaecologist. They will guide you and recommend additional testing if necessary. Common treatment options available to women with endometriosis are surgery, hormone treatment, and other types of pain relief.
When women are referred to a gynaecologist, the diagnosis is usually given during a key-hole operation called a laparoscopy. You’ll usually be put on a waiting list in order to receive a laparoscopy. Operations do, however, come with risks, so often doctors will recommend medication that is less invasive. It varies from patient to patient.
Unfortunately, endometriosis is a disease that can return even after surgery.
Top tips for those suffering from endometriosis:
- Think about your diet – there is some evidence which suggests that drinking lots of alcohol and eating lots of red meat can increase some of the symptoms of endometriosis, such as painful periods. Fish oil supplements and Vitamin B12 can help endometriosis-associated pain. A healthy balanced lifestyle with regular sleep patterns may also influence your symptoms.
- It may be worth trying to treat your symptoms at first with simple measures such as heat, gentle exercise, pain relief, or hormonal medication, before considering more invasive options such as surgery. Your gynaecologist may also explore your symptoms further by requesting an ultrasound, for example. With this information, discussing the risks and benefits of medication and an operation may help you to decide what’s right to you.
- If you’re thinking about getting pregnant and you are known to have endometriosis, consult your gynaecologist early. Start taking pregnancy supplements three months before you wish to conceive, and make sure you have sex regularly when trying to conceive. Most women have no problems conceiving, but it’s worth seeking expert help early.
Today, to give a voice to those suffering from the condition, intimate wellness brand INTIMINA has released a powerful film that features eight-year-old children whose age symbolises the damning eight-year wait statistic–each of the youngsters have been alive for as long as it takes to be diagnosed with endometriosis.
What’s more, with this devastating disease commonly starting in adolescence (and sometimes before) any of the 8-year-olds in the film – and across the world – could develop endometriosis in the near future and face the eight-year delay themselves if nothing is done to shorten the time to a diagnosis.
In the film, the children speak the actual words of real adult women who spent years of their lives waiting and fighting for an endometriosis diagnosis.
Watch the video, share it with your friends and family to raise awareness about this serious condition. For those looking to find out more about endometriosis or get support, please visit www.endometriosis-uk.org.
A collective group of “lady experts” at Intimina who love sharing our personal experiences, even when they are a little too personal. We believe it’s time to start breaking down the taboos around menstruation, motherhood, and menopause, and start owning our female health.