What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a painful condition in which tissue that is found in the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus.

It is commonly found in the pelvis, fallopian tubes and bowels and results in chronic pelvic pain, heavy and painful menstruation, lower back and leg pain, difficult bowel movements and chronic fatigue.

Endometriosis affects every aspect of the lives of women with the disease each day and can have a devastating effect on families. Infertility is often one of the factors that leads to a diagnosis of endometriosis.

Why are women being misdiagnosed?

Endometriosis is underdiagnosed and women experience pain for a number of years before they are diagnosed. Part of the reason for this delay in diagnoses is a lack of awareness.

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“I was diagnosed at the age of 39 with stage four endometriosis almost 26 years after the onset of symptoms. For 12 years I sought answers, going from one doctor to another,” says Valencia Kippie, founder of The Foundation for Endometriosis Awareness, Advocacy and Support (FEAAS).

“I was diagnosed at the age of 39 with stage four endometriosis almost 26 years after the onset of symptoms. For 12 years I sought answers, going from one doctor to another. I was turned away by many doctors who sometimes labelled me as a hypochondriac and attention seeking …” –  Valencia Kippie, founder of The Foundation for Endometriosis Awareness, Advocacy and Support

“I was turned away by many doctors who sometimes labelled me as a hypochondriac and attention seeking. Other times it was suggested I have an underlying mental illness and needed to seek psychiatric help because the pain was probably all in my head.”

According to the FEAAS, the average delay in diagnosis is approximately seven-and-a-half years. Sadly, many young girls are taught that severe period pain is normal. They are encouraged to suck it up and chug along, because it comes with the territory”.

There is also a stigma attached to talking about endometriosis. Women mostly feel uncomfortable talking about the condition because it is not well understood.

Support Endometriosis Awareness Month

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month and FEAAS encourages everyone to help raise awareness and take part in the Worldwide Endo-March on Saturday, 19 March 2016.

The march takes place in Cape Town at 10h00 from Parliament through to the Company Gardens. For more information, visit www.endometriosisawareness.co.za or email [email protected]

Source: The Foundation for Endometriosis Awareness, Advocacy and Support (FEAAS)

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