It’s a condition rarely spoken about but endometriosis affects an estimated 176 million women, according to global forum endometriosis.org.
The impact of endometriosis can be severe, with some women experiencing chronic pain that interferes with their ability to maintain a career, a social life and subsequently maintain relationships and a livelihood.
Many women are misdiagnosed and have a delayed diagnosis which can impact the severity of their condition, this occurs mostly due to little education or a lack of awareness in the health industry on how to identify the disease.
This week writer, actor and creative all-rounder, Lena Dunham explained that she would be absent from press events for the sixth season of her TV show Girls, due to endometriosis. She spoke out about her condition on social media, opening up a dialogue about the disease that is often treated as a taboo.
Hey Beloved Pals, I just wanted to let you know that, while I am so excited for Girls to return on Feb 21, I won’t be out and about doing press for the new season. As many of you know I have endometriosis, a chronic condition that affects approximately 1 in 10 women’s reproductive health. I am currently going through a rough patch with the illness and my body (along with my amazing doctors) let me know, in no uncertain terms, that it’s time to rest. That’s a hard thing to do, but I’m trying, because all I want is to make season 6 of Girls the best one yet. I’m lucky enough to have support and backup from Jenni, Judd and the whole Girls gang. So many women with this disease literally don’t have the option of time off and I won’t take it for granted. Wishing you all health & happiness, in whatever form suits you. Back soon xxLena
In 2011 a global study into endometriosis, involving 1,418 women aged 18 to 45 in five continents, found the disease accounts for a significant “loss of productivity”, on average a loss of eleven hours per week of work, further contributing to a negative effect on mental health.
Two particular facts discovered in the study, speak to the insufficient education around the nature of the disease, they are that “women with endometriosis experienced an average delay of 7 years from symptom onset until they were finally diagnosed and treated.” and that only “two-thirds of women sought medical help for their symptoms before the age of 30.”
The World Endometriosis Society is hard at work to educate women and health professionals to encourage earlier detection and treatment. For more information on symptoms and treatment see endometriosis.org