Today is the first day of #EndometriosisAwarenessWeek and I have to admit that before starting this documentary project I didn't know much about the condition. All I knew was that it had something to do with really painful periods. Now I know that it's actually a much bigger problem and can cause a whole bunch of other symptoms too. And worst of all, there's no known cure.
To get you started, here's a video by an awesome Youtuber, Kyla Thompson, who explains some facts about the disease.
Contrary to what I thought, endometriosis is not just about unusually painful periods but sufferers can actually experience pain pretty much ALL OF THE TIME. The inflammation caused by endo can make you so bloated that people mistake you for being pregnant – which is made a thousand times more hurtful because endo often causes infertility. And even if you are fertile, sex can be so painful and uncomfortable that you don't want to or can't have it anyway. The severity of the pain can be completely disabling but endo can also cause chronic pain that is disabling in a whole different way because it completely exhausts you mentally and physically.
But since I don't have personal experience with endometriosis, I'm gonna let the amazing ladies of Youtube explain more.
We need awareness about endometriosis not only to find a cure but also because people don't really understand this condition – even though it affects up to 10% of people who menstruate. The lack of understanding sometimes causes people to judge the person as lazy or "too sensitive". I can't imagine how much it must hurt to suffer from something like this and have your experience constantly questioned and diminished.
Diagnosing endometriosis definitively can only be done by actually going inside your body and looking for it. The procedure is called laparoscopy. The difficulty of diagnosing the disease and the lack of awareness causes a lot of people to suffer for years before being diagnosed: On average, it takes 7.5 years from the onset of symptoms to get a diagnosis. That's way, way too long.
If you think raising awareness and finding a cure is not something you have to worry about, remember that anyone who menstruates can develop endometriosis. This disease has a social and economical impact on our societies and thus affects us all either directly or indirectly.
We have to find a better way to diagnose, manage and ultimately cure this disease. Spread the word.
P.S. I'm no expert and have merely gathered some information here that I've found online. If you disagree with something or find anything incorrect, feel free to let me know in the comments below.