March is Endometriosis Awareness Month
During the month of March, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin (PPWI) is bringing attention to endometriosis and reminding people of the importance of regular checkups and open, honest conversations with health care providers.
Just last month, actress Lena Dunham announced she was taking time off from work to manage the pain of endometriosis. Unfortunately, she’s not alone: More than five million women in the U.S. suffer from endometriosis, a common health problem that occurs when tissue from the lining of the uterus, the endometrium, grows outside the uterus. Endometriosis can cause chronic pain, and in some cases, infertility.
“The chronic pain I experience from endometriosis has lead to multiple surgeries, time in the hospital and required me to take time off work,” said Courtney T., a woman living with endometriosis. “It took a long time to diagnose, and many people don’t understand just how much it impacts my daily life.”
“At PPWI, we see many patients suffering from the debilitating symptoms of endometriosis and want to let people know that we can help. If think you might have this condition, you should talk with your health care provider,” said Meg Robertson, women’s health nurse practitioner and director of clinical services at PPWI. “Be as honest and specific as possible about your symptoms. The more your health care provider knows about you, the better they’re able to help you stay healthy.”
Endometriosis is most often diagnosed in women in their 30s and 40s although, it can occur in anyone who has a uterus, including transgender individuals. While there is no cure, for many people the condition can be managed with hormonal birth control, which is a treatment for the chronic pain of endometriosis.
Birth control is basic health care and has important health benefits for women and their families. The most common reason women use the pill is to prevent pregnancy, though 58 percent of pill users also cite non-contraceptive health benefits as a contributing factor.
“Hormonal birth control significantly improves the lives of those living with the chronic pain caused by endometriosis,” said Robertson. “As Wisconsin’s oldest and most trusted reproductive health care provider, we’re committed to providing the high-quality, affordable health care needed to keep our communities safe, healthy and strong.”
Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin is a nonprofit health care provider caring for 60,000 patients annually at 22 health centers. 97 percent of Planned Parenthood’s care is preventive health services including well woman exams, breast and cervical cancer screenings, birth control, HIV screening, and STD treatment.