Why Awareness Month Is So Important To Those Of Us With Endometriosis
I was diagnosed with endometriosis in 2005, and back then, I'd never heard of the disease. I had never read a news or magazine article about it, never saw television programs covering the topic, and there were no celebrities speaking out about their own journeys.
Over the years, I'm glad to have seen an increase in coverage surrounding the disease. Menstruation has become less taboo of a topic than it once was deemed and this has increased knowledge surrounding that topic alone. This has led to discussions about what is happening with our bodies - at period time and throughout our cycles. Questioning what is 'normal' and discovering that pain that interferes with your life, isn't! Women AND men aren't as afraid of the word period as they once were. This has given people the confidence to speak to their doctors about any problems they are living with. And, more importantly, not taking 'no' for an answer. Questioning and persisting when doctors have told them it's "in their heads", "it's just a period", or "it's normal"!
Because endometriosis isn't just a bad period. There are a number of key differences between the two. The main difference being that periods are a natural process that happens as the body matures. Whereas, endometriosis is a chronic disease, occurring when tissue similar to that which lines the uterus is found elsewhere in the body. This can be anywhere from the vulva to the brain. It affects an estimated 1 in 10 of us and has been found in females, trans-males, and CIS males of all age groups and all ethnic and social backgrounds.
1 in 10 of us
... That's a lot of us, isn't it? And still, people have never heard of endometriosis. Even the doctors we turn to for knowledge and advice know so little about it. We very often end up educating them on it ourselves!
The dangers of misinformation
And then, when the media does cover the topic or our doctors do give us information on it, it's usually wrong. I so frequently see articles written about endometriosis or people sharing their own diagnosis stories, where the definition of endometriosis is incorrect! Statements that certain treatments will cure us (when there is no cure!) or where it is spoken about in terms of periods alone. Where stories and information isn't shared about it effecting so many different parts of our body or our lives in general.
And this is why we need awareness. This is why we need to talk about it. Educate those who don't know about the disease, correct those who spread misinformation, share your stories, join events to attract attention, use your social media profiles. Do whatever you can and get the word ENDOMETRIOSIS out there!
We need the world to know about this disease and all it entails. We need people suffering in silence to feel empowered, find their voices, and receive the healthcare they so rightfully deserve.
So, let's shout it from the rooftops - because we want to be heard! ENDOMETRIOSIS EXISTS AND WE MATTER!
Do you make any endo preparations when you know you are attending a BBQ, party, or a day at the beach?