As a healthcare practitioner who has devoted my life to helping diagnose and treat women with endometriosis and pelvic pain, I see the real-life pain and suffering caused by this disease. The magnitude of the pain and suffering and the ensuing impact on quality of life can be almost incomprehensible.
The first worldwide study on the societal impact of endometriosis was presented recently at the 26th annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology. This study found a significant loss of productivity of over 11 hours per woman per week. It is estimated that 176 million women around the world have endometriosis. The study recruited 1418 women from 10 countries. Significant findings included an average delay in diagnosis of 7 years; the severity (stage) of endometriosis did not correlate with the severity of symptoms; as symptoms became more severe the women’s quality of life was reduced; pain was the leading factor in the 38% greater loss of work productivity of women with endometriosis compared to women without endometriosis; and non-work related activities were also significantly impaired by the painful symptoms of endometriosis.
This comprehensive study highlights the magnitude of the number of women affected with pelvic pain and endometriosis, the severity of personal suffering and its significant societal impact. There is a real need for an increased awareness of endometriosis and pelvic pain. Large numbers of women are suffering from this devastating disease, and they need and deserve effective health care and treatment.
For more information, visit the World Endometriosis Research Foundation website.