Endometriosis affects 1 in 10 women worldwide. Here's what you need to know about this common, and often debilitating, illness.
If you or a friend has recently been diagnosed with endometriosis, you are not alone.
Over 500,000 women in Australia have endometriosis in the prime of their lives, but many suffer in silence because it can be difficult to diagnose. In fact, the average delay in diagnosis is seven to 10 years.
In a nutshell, endometriosis develops when the tissue that is similar to the lining of the uterus (womb) occurs outside this layer and causes excruciating pain and/or infertility.
Aussie Olympic champion swimmer, Emily Seebohm, knows all too well the struggle associated with 'endo' - as it's commonly referred to.
“I was diagnosed with endometriosis in June 2015 after battles with low iron levels and problems with my cycle," she said. "I believed what I was going through was normal but never understood my pain could be linked to something else. I finally know what I was feeling isn’t normal and now have help.”
From the Olympic pool to the boardroom
Laura Furiosi is the founder and CEO of international brand Rashoodz Swimwear, a mother of three and has also been battling endometriosis for the past 15 years. Going on 15 surgeries now, she hopes that she can inspire others to learn ways to achieve despite the disease.
"I want to let girls and women know, even though this is a terrible disease, there are ways around it, so you can still succeed in life," she told Endometriosis Australia
. "There were times when I’d have important meetings interstate, I’d have to drag myself onto the plane, I had to go into the bathroom and use the hand dryer to act as a heat pack when I could, I would use my carry on travel suitcase as a crutch sometimes cause I was in so much pain walking was near impossible."
Despite all the pain, Lauren carried on, managing clients remotely and often negotiating from her hosptial bed. "It can be done, you just have to work around your limitations."
Alarmingly, barely any money is going into research in Australia despite having world class researchers in this area. Endometriosis costs our economy an estimated $7.7 billion annually in loss of productivity and direct healthcare costs.
To help raise awareness and end the silence around endo, here are 10 things you might not know about the disease:
There is NO cure for endometriosis
Teenagers are NOT too young to have endometriosis
Endometriosis can NOT be prevented
Endometriosis does NOT always cause infertility
Period pain is NOT normal
A hysterectomy is NOT a cure for endometriosis
Getting pregnant will NOT cure endometriosis
Endometriosis can ONLY be correctly diagnosed through surgical intervention
Pain levels are NOT related to the extent of the disease
Endometriosis is NOT an STI you cannot catch it
For further info, visit endometriosisaustralia.org