Eight women share their personal experiences with endometriosis in a new campaign launched by Jean Hailes for Women's Health. Endo Wise is a revealing look at the chronic, often silent condition called endometriosis, which affects up to 1 in 10 women.
Endo, as it's often called, is a common but under-recognised chronic disease. It occurs when cells similar to those that line a woman's uterus grow in other parts of the body. Symptoms are diverse—ranging from severe and/or heavy periods to painful sex and issues with fertility. As endo symptoms differ greatly, and can often be dismissed as so-called women's problems, it can take up to seven to 12 years for a woman to be diagnosed.
Endo Wise explores what this actually means, with eight women sharing their very personal stories—from symptoms to diagnosis and how they manage the condition. Highlights of their stories have been released in a video today and an additional eight videos featuring each woman are on the Endo Wise page (endowise.org.au), with full transcripts:
- Liza's periods were so bad her doctor recommended she have a radical hysterectomy—at 17;
- Hithaishi had to be rushed to the emergency department of her local hospital so often with chronic pain that doctors thought she might be drug-seeking;
- Micaela thought that painful sex was just something that women put up with;
- Bec became a recluse for a few days most months, until her husband Ash gave her the support to share her pain.
The campaign, supported by the Australian government, helps educate women, their family and friends on what endo can look like and how it can be successfully managed. The key message is that it's important to find a health professional who will listen.
"Initially when a woman seeks medical advice, she needs to be feeling that she's been listened to and taken seriously and to be given a range of options to try," says Dr Janine Manwaring, gynaecologist at Jean Hailes for Women's Health. "If she's not happy that she's not being heard, then she needs to try and find a different health practitioner."
These eight stories might be potential material for a story about endometriosis. The women are available for direct interviews and their transcripts can also be sourced for direct quotes. For more information, to interview any of the women who feature in the endo campaign or to speak with one of our endometriosis experts, please contact Janelle Carrigan on 0409 939 920 or email [email protected].