Many of you may not realize this is the last day of the National Endometriosis Awareness Month. As this month comes to a close I feel it is important we keep the women who live with Endometriosis every day in our hearts and support them through the remainder of the year.
According to the Endometriosis Foundation of America there are approximately 176 million women and young girls who are affected worldwide, 8.5 million of these women live in North America. Endometriosis is commonly misdiagnosed as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). The pain many women and young girls suffer from is often misunderstood and under estimated as “normal cramps” during menstruation. Many women also experience pain during intercourse and often do not discuss this with their doctors.
Endometriosis is also listed in the top 3 causes of female infertility; this affects more than half of the women with this diagnosis. Interestingly enough it is one of the most treatable for infertility and yet is treated least often. (Something I really feel we need to change)
My interest in supporting these women began with my cousin Kristin. Kristin was misdiagnosed as a young girl and even up into her late teenage years. By the time she was 22 she had a hysterectomy. Since we were young I have always admired her strength as a person. She honestly is the one person I can say has always been very true to herself. She knows what she wants out of life, will not accept anything less and knows her worth. Her confidence is one that I strive to have!! She has the most positive outlook on life. Sure she has her bad days like the rest of us but she does not let anything pull her down. She has a Red Belt in Tae-Kwon-Do and teaches young children. She is also an amazing baker who makes food look like art work, and yes she is an artist as well (she did the feet for my logo)
Kristin has always been very open about her journey and wants to share her knowledge and support for other women who walk this path alongside her. She has opened my eyes to what she and these women go through. Knowing her journey and how she looks at life makes me admire her even more. I didn’t realize that was even possible! But it is.
I was surprised to find out that 176 million worldwide suffer from endometriosis and yet it is not something we hear about often. Why is this the case? Perhaps it is the lack of full clarity of the causes? Perhaps many of us don’t realize someone very close to us has endometriosis? Perhaps it is something we are not comfortable to talk about because it is a female diagnosis and seems too personal to discuss? Perhaps it is all these reasons and I am sure more.
We can make Endometriosis more understood, supported, and investigated. How?
By not turning in the other direction because we cannot pronounce or even understand the word. By having a willingness to learn about something that maybe we don’t have or cannot have (men) because chances are you know someone who does. How can we ever treat, prevent, or support those if we ourselves are not willing to learn more when the opportunity is there. This really goes to any disease!
For the sake of our Cousins, Mothers, Sisters, Aunts, Grandmothers, Daughters, and friends who walk this journey in their daily lives; let them know you are walking with them.
Kristin, thank you for teaching me about endometriosis, helping me to better understand what women go through with this diagnosis, and allowing me to share your story. Know that I will always be here for you. xo
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