Unless you have endometriosis, it’s possible that you’ve never heard of the condition or understand what it is. Endometriosis is a chronic gynaecological disease that affects each person differently. Common symptoms include pain that is usually—but not always—associated with periods, infertility and heavy periods. It’s often progressive, which means symptoms are likely to worsen if you don’t seek treatment. As a result, endometriosis can prevent you from participating in everyday activities. If you are suffering from symptoms, you may need to take a lot of time off from work. This can lead to money problems. The overall impact of endometriosis can cause people to have significant social and mental health issues.
It is currently estimated that endometriosis affects one in nine Australian women.1 This number fails to account for transgender and gender diverse people. It also doesn't account for people misdiagnosed or that remain undiagnosed. This means that the actual number of people with endometriosis is likely much higher.
The average delay between the onset of symptoms and diagnosis is seven years. As a result, endometriosis is usually advanced in these patients, making managing the condition much harder. There is a link between delays in diagnosis and the normalisation of period pain by both family and friends, and some health care providers. This attitude has led to the belief that severe or chronic period pain is normal, resulting in a culture of silence. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Chronic and severe pain is NOT normal and is the body’s way of telling us there is a problem.
At the Julia Argyrou Endometriosis Centre at Epworth, we want to change the narrative around period pain and endometriosis. Our goal is to achieve better health outcomes for people with endometriosis. We are working towards this goal through advancements in non-invasive diagnosis, clinical care and research. Our centre puts 100% of the funding it receives into research, clinical care and improving patient experience.
Our mission at the centre is to ensure our patients receive the very best of care. We apply a holistic approach to patient care that covers all aspects of your treatment to take care of your social, emotional and physical wellbeing. This helps us to improve quality of life.
1 Department of Health (DoH), What we’re doing about endometriosis, DoH website, 2021, accessed 1 June 2021. https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/chronic-conditions/what-were-doing-about-chronic-conditions/what-were-doing-about-endometriosis