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Understanding endometriosis

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Fri Mar 21, 2014

Soroptimist International has undertaken to address this issue of endometriosis with the objective of increasing the awareness of people in general but of young girls and women in particular. This effort is intended to be global and in this context, the St Vincent and the Grenadines Chapter of Soroptimist International, as part of its programme of activities for 2014, decided to place the spotlight on this problem for national attention.{{more}}

To this end, an awareness and sensitisation plan has been developed and will be implemented utilising a partnership approach involving doctors from the public and private sectors, the Health Promotion Unit in the Ministry of Health Wellness and the Environment, subject matter experts and women from various corporate entities.

Endometriosis pronounced (en – do- mee -tree – oh – sis) is a health problem that has affected young girls and women perhaps from the beginning of time. However, in the past decade or so, this problem has been gaining more and more international, regional and national attention due to the serious impact it can have on the lives of girls and women, particularly with regard to their reproductive health.

WHAT IS ENDOMETRIOSIS?

This can be defined as the presence and growth of functioning endometrial tissue in places other than the uterus that often results in severe pain and infertility. Endometriosis is not an infection. Endometriosis is not contagious. Endometriosis is not cancer. By this time, a woman must be asking the question of:

WHAT THINGS SHOULD I LOOK FOR OR HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE ENDOMETRIOSIS?

The following are some of the clues or symptoms:

  • Painful and heavy menstruation sometimes with clots of blood

  • Irregular and sometimes prolonged menstrual periods
  • Pain during and after sexual intercourse and;
  • Infertility

A young girl or woman may experience one or more of these symptoms which should alert them to consult with a doctor.

ENDOMETRIOSIS: SOME IMPORTANT FACTS TO KNOW:

  • Endometriosis is a complex condition often seen in women of the reproductive or childbearing age group. This condition allows for the tissue that usually lines the inside of the uterus to be found in some places outside of the uterus and when this happens, similar bleeding to that which occurs in the uterus can happen during the menstrual cycle.
  • Such sites include the ovary, fallopian tube, around the uterus, bowel, and even in some areas more distant from the uterus.
  • Endometriosis affects about 20 per cent of all women. Of these, 80 per cent may experience pelvic pain and about 20-50 per cent of women may be infertile as a consequence. However, this condition may exist without the woman experiencing any problem at all.
  • The reason some women have this condition is not fully understood. However, it should be noted that endometriosis is not an infection, it is not contagious and it is not some kind of cancer.
  • While diagnosis of this condition is difficult, certain diagnostic procedures such as ultrasound can be helpful in arriving at a diagnosis.
  • Treatment of the condition can be with the use of medication or with surgical procedures.

Soroptimist International of StVincent and the Grenadines urges all young girls and women to stay in touch with their bodies and to seek health care when necessary.

FOLLOW UP: Please listen for further information regarding follow-up activities during the Endometriosis Awareness Campaign Week March 24th -29th, under the theme “LET’S TALK. PERIOD.”

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