Raising Awareness of Endometriosis in the Male Population
Endometriosis is everywhere at the moment. I’m not talking about the 1 in 10 women it affects, I’m talking about the media. Every month, there seems to be more Guardian or Buzzfeed articles about the condition, and it’s quickly becoming a widely known and discussed topic among women. One could easily believe that endometriosis is finally taking its rightful place as one of the most important health issues of the 21st century. Maybe we could even go so far as believing that endometriosis will start receiving adequate funding and research, and medical professionals will be properly trained on the condition.
But there is a problem to overcome first – Men are poorly educated about women’s health.
Men as medical providers and law makers
This is not only a problem because only half of the world’s population are beginning to pay attention to the condition, but also because a disproportionate amount of the medical community and law makers in the world are male. The very net that people with endo rely upon to support them is weaved from individuals who are ignorant to their suffering.
However, men who do not have direct experience with endometriosis can be excused for missing the memo on this crucial reproduction health issue. It is not an intimately known topic in some medical circles, and large numbers of the female population haven't heard of it either. So, where does this big whole in our knowledge come from? Some of the first things we learn about the bodies of the opposite sex come from our school education - a place where endometriosis, and menstrual wellbeing in general, is largely absent.
A gap in sex education
Sex education in my school consisted of a single lesson. We laughed at cartoon pictures of human bodies, and then the girls were taken to a separate room to be taught things on which we could only wildly speculate. Menstruation remained a mystery to most school-aged boys until we became intimate enough with a female that we could learn from them. Even then, many things were a mystery to me for longer than I’d care to admit! Perhaps someone’s parents had the foresight and courage to educate them at home, but this was not to be relied upon. Until a general awareness of female reproductive facts is present in the male population, it’s an uphill battle for endometriosis. Endometriosis is not covered in the national curriculum of the UK, and with it being so little-known outside of the endo community, we can’t blame boys or their parents for not knowing anything about it.
Endometriosis UK is currently running a campaign petitioning the UK government to include menstrual wellbeing in schools. People are sharing their stories of what they wish they knew about their bodies earlier, using the hashtag #WhatIWishIdLearned. Visit their site to see how you can become involved.
Until schools teach about endometriosis across the world, it is the responsibility of people in the know to pass on the information. I’m the partner of someone with endometriosis, and therefore have hands-on experience with the condition. I have the responsibility to educate my male friends about the condition, to bring subject specific vocabulary into conversation, and to remove the mystery from a condition that affects 176 million people. I’m lucky to have my feet in both worlds – the cruel world of endometriosis, and blissful male ignorance – and I’m now trying to use this position to bridge the gap between the two.
Weird Endo Symptom: Have you ever experienced what felt like a vibration in your pelvic region?