According to Mayo Clinic, endometriosis is a common and long-term condition that affects one in 10 women. It occurs when the lining of the uterus (endometrium) grows in other places, such as the fallopian tubes, ovaries, or along the pelvis, which causes a chronic, inflammatory reaction.
Sophia Samutt suffers pain “worse than childbirth, when she gets her period every month. She has suffered 12 miscarriages and the impact has just recently “really hit” her.
Model and fashion designer Alexa Chung recently opened up about her endometriosis diagnosis stating, “It can be excruciating. The pain can affect your mental health, ability to work, and relationship.”
Julianne Hough says her endometriosis pain can make sex ‘really frustrating’. She has had the reproductive condition for 15 years now. “It was an emotional trauma,” she said. “At the time, I felt very lonely and like nobody understood me. I had no idea that [ so many women] had endometriosis.”
It can cause painful periods, excessive bleeding, pain during sex, bowel and urination problems, bloating and fatigue and is link to infertility. The cause is unknown. There’s no cure and is usually progressive, but treatment is available to ease symptoms.
With elective surgeries cancelled due to the worldwide pandemic it’s unclear how many patients are waiting for surgery. Even before COVID, patients highlight it takes an average of 7.5 years to be diagnosed from symptom to onset.
With doctors now trying to deal with a backlog of routine operations while keeping capacity to treat coronavirus, experts have called for endometriosis- while not considered life-threatening- to be prioritized of its potentially detrimental impact on quality of life.
While the disease doesn’t always cause infertility, the more severe it is the smaller the chance of getting pregnant naturally. This is because there are more adhesion that trap the egg and prevent it from getting down the fallopian tube. Surgical treatment of endometriosis improves fertility and helps pain, but now many women worry that the delay in surgery will rob them of their chances of having a family.
Doctors are not blind or deaf to the concerns of their patients. Emma Cox, CEO of Endometriosis UK, said she understands that there is a “massive task” in resuming normal services, but called on physicians to not “ignore endometriosis or minimize the impact it can have.”