Wellbeing of Women funds vital medical research on endometriosis.
- Endometriosis is a little-known chronic and debilitating condition where tissue from the lining of the womb is found growing outside, such as the bladder, bowel, fallopian tubes and ovaries
- The lives of 1 in 10 women and girls between the ages of approximately 11 and 55 – that is around 1.5 million women in the UK alone – are blighted by this often agonisingly painful condition
- It is as common as diabetes among women yet few people have heard of it
- The low awareness of endometriosis among the medical profession has led to an average diagnosis time of 7.5 years.
- Marilyn Monroe was a sufferer and some believe it led to her painkiller addiction. Shockingly treatments have barely progressed since that time
- Existing treatments are harsh, often do not cure the disease and have life-changing side effects, such as infertility. Women as young as 21 years old sometimes choose to have a hysterectomy because of the unendurable pain
- It costs the UK economy a staggering £8.2 billion each year
- It affects sufferers’ education, careers and women are forced to drop out of work
- It can lead to depression and affect mental health
“I was 19 when I first went to the doctors. They didn’t seem to understand the intense pain I was having with my periods. I was young and didn’t like to be a nuisance, so I didn’t go back but just put up with the pain, which gradually got worse. When I was 22, I went to another doctor who was more sympathetic. She thought I had IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) but the pain still carried on. Eventually I had a laparoscopy, which showed I had endometriosis.
“Over the next 10 years I underwent several operations. I also went through three cycles of IVF, unfortunately without success. Things came to a head when, at the age of 35, I had a hysterectomy including removal of one of my ovaries. The operation gave me a new lease of life. I was able to do more exercise as a result and even dropped two dress sizes!
“My advice to other women would be not to be afraid of getting a second opinion if you feel you aren’t being listened too. The hysterectomy improved things for me but everyone is different. Ask about the options and be clear about the consequences of any treatment you are having.”