This misnomer dismisses, diminishes and invalidates the suffering of every woman and girl with the disease and can often lead to further isolation.
Endometriosis is, in fact, a wound so profound and primal in nature it has the potential to pervade and negatively impact every aspect of a woman or girl’s entire life – and the life of those who care for her; from her ability to go about her normal routine, to intimate engagement in a healthy and pleasurable sex life with her partner, to the ability to control her reproductive choices. Symptoms may arise at any point in a woman or girl’s cycle – and may be continual and unrelenting – ranging from pelvic pain to bowel or bladder dysfunction to infertility.
Endometriosis is more than a disease of infertility or ‘painful periods’; it is a complex, confusing disorder requiring multidisciplinary expertise. Fortunately, endometriosis is not hopeless and quality treatments do exist. However, until society – both medical and lay – begins acknowledging the disease as a priority public health issue, the movement to connect women and girls to quality care will continue to face needless barriers and delays. “The time to stop treating the disease like some so-called ‘neglected stepchild’ of gynecology is long overdue.”-Heather Guidone, Surgical Program Director, Center for Endometriosis Care