Every March, people around the world come together to support Endometriosis Action Month. Endometriosis Action Month is an opportunity to raise awareness, demand change, and show support for the 1 in 10 women and those assigned female at birth with endometriosis. To support the campaign, we asked Endometriosis UK to write a guest post for us so that we can help bust some myths, and take action today.
If you’ve supported the work of Endometriosis UK for some time, you might notice the change of name. In the past we’ve referred to our ‘Endometriosis Awareness Month’ but awareness only goes so far – what those with endometriosis need and deserve is tangible action and positive changes to improve care and support. That’s why in 2022 we launched our new initiative, Endometriosis Action Month.
Here at Endometriosis UK, we know that for many the month can also be overwhelming, and we’ll be here to support you if you need us. If you need to reach out to someone, please check out our support services.
Busting the Myths surrounding Endometriosis
This year, we’re busting the myths and highlighting the real impact of living with endometriosis. All too often, those with endometriosis have their symptoms dismissed. We often hear from those with endometriosis who have been told that it’s “just a bad period” or that their pelvic pain is “normal”. There are lots of myths around endometriosis, including that it’s just something you have to deal with. This must change.
New research from Endometriosis UK shows that three quarters (75%) of women and those assigned female at birth would put off going to see a doctor if they were experiencing painful periods which were interfering with day-to-day activities. This figure rises to 92% of those aged 16-34. Among those who said they would put off going to see a doctor in this situation, 24% said it was because they considered painful periods to be a normal part of life, while 23% said they would think it was “not serious enough to bother a doctor with”.
However, at Endometriosis UK we want to urge everyone with these symptoms to visit their GP, as chronic pelvic pain and painful periods that interfere with your everyday life can be symptoms of endometriosis. Other common symptoms include pain during or after sex, painful bowel movements, pain when urinating, fatigue and difficulty getting pregnant.
Despite affecting an estimated 1.5 million women and those assigned female at birth in the UK, it still takes an average of 8 years to be diagnosed with endometriosis. We advise that those with one or more of these symptoms may want to keep a diary of pain and symptoms, to better help explain your experience when in discussion with your doctor. Getting an earlier diagnosis of endometriosis allows earlier access to treatment and management options; without this, the disease may progress.
Taking Action to support those with Endometriosis
Endometriosis Action Month is the perfect opportunity to raise our voices and be heard; with governments, the media, employers and medical practitioners. That’s why all month at Endometriosis UK, we will be highlighting the real impact of living with endometriosis – shining a light on areas including mental health, finances - including the need for Governments to review the way benefits are assessed for those with endometriosis, and the need for greater support in the workplace, and soaring gynaecology waiting times. Action is urgently needed to ensure those with diagnosed or suspected endometriosis get the support they need.
Our latest research shows that just 49% of the public know that endometriosis is a gynaecological health condition, further evidence of the need to take action- and this Endometriosis Action Month, there are so many ways to get involved:
- Sharing our social media graphics to show your support for Endometriosis Action Month – Download our digital social media toolkit
- Following and sharing Endometriosis UK’s social media posts
- Sharing your story
- Getting involved in a fundraising event or activity
- Lobbying your MP/MLA/MS/MSP
- Attending an event
- Signing up to a webinar on endometriosis
- Signing up to our employers event
Keep an eye on the Endometriosis UK Action Month webpage as well as our social channels, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook for further information on ways to get involved. We’ll be sharing some new and exciting data throughout the month, as well as ways for you to take action to support our campaigns!