One in ten women have endometriosis. That is one in ten teenage girls missing classes at-school because of excruciating pain; that is one in ten young women being forced to take time off work for treatment and operations; that is one in ten women living in fear of infertility. Unfortunately, these girls, these young women, these women, largely suffer this insidious disease in stoic silence.
Endometriosis is a disease where tissue that is similar to the lining of the womb grows outside the womb, in other parts of the body. Symptoms are variable, which is why there is usually a seven- to 10-year delay in diagnosis. Endo has been described as a nightmare of misinformation, myths, taboos, lack of diagnosis and problematic hit-and-miss treatments overlaid on a painful, chronic, stubborn disease.
On Saturday I had the honour of giving the keynote address at an EndoMarch afternoon tea at Old Canberra House, organised by Endometriosis Australia. Endo sufferers and their families and friends donned yellow and gathered to raise funds for research and, most importantly, raise awareness about this disease. We have to keep having a conversation about endometriosis—we have to end the silence on this disease. It is affecting one in 10 women, young women, girls, in Australia every day.