Pain and infertility, two frightening words usually associated with Endometriosis, an abnormal growth of endometrial-like cells outside of the uterus. This chronic illness affects approximately 1 in 10 women and to date, even more concerning, the exact cause of it has not been identified. There is no cure.
With March being Endometriosis Awareness Month, gatherings across the globe look to shine a light on this illness during the 5th Annual Worldwide EndoMarch. Ottawa is part of the campaign to break the stigma and silence come March 24th with a group meeting at the intersection of York and Dalhousie in the ByWard at 12:30 PM to head towards an end rally on Parliament Hill.
“No woman should be shy to speak up about period pain, because sometimes it is more than just a painful period,” says Carine Boustani, team leader of the Worldwide EndoMarch (Ottawa). “This march is an active step. We need to improve our knowledge about the widespread medical conditions that are still taboo to talk about openly in today’s world.”
The catalyst for the first EndoMarch was the article Endometriosis: Ancient Disease, Ancient Treatments by Drs. Camran, Farr and Ceana Nezhat. Published in 2012, the piece uncovered evidence that many past cases of the now discredited psychological disorder hysteria may very well have been endometriosis. The family also had a very personal reason to research what would eventual become the report after their mother became ill and need much medical care. They have been dedicated to women’s health issues for decades. Looking to address needs they feel are going unmet, the family made it a mission to develop ways to better diagnose and treat endometriosis.
Their mission statement reads that the EndoMarch was founded as an “urgent call to action to improve the quality of medical care for millions of women and girls who suffer from endometriosis, an incurable, whole-body chronic disease that can potentially cause system-wide crippling pain, organ damage, infertility, and other severe medical consequences if left inadequately treated.”
The family and others behind the cause know much more needs to be done, especially when considering that statistic that an agency such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) spends less than $1 on endometriosis per capita. The group have broken down what they hope to accomplish into a simple mandate: Empower, Educate and Effect Change. In short, they feel uniting women and their supporters will raise awareness to their efforts, help train medical staff to improve treatment while they are simultaneously working with governments and congress to allocate more funding on much needed research. They are also seeking to improve early health screenings among girls and young women in school.
“As team leader of the Worldwide EndoMarch in Ottawa, and as an Endo fighter myself, I encourage you to join and take part in this event to help shed light on Endometriosis and help end the silence to the suffering of 1 in 10 women,” says Boustani.
“The statistics are real and so is the pain. There still is no cure for Endometriosis, it is one of the leading causes of infertility and it takes an average of 7 to 10 doctors before getting diagnosed. Join us and let us make a difference.”
Organizers are requesting those attending on the 24th wear yellow in support of the cause. More information on Ottawa’s Worldwide EndoMarch can be found on the group’s Facebook page. You can register now online here.
By: Andre Gagne