Endometriosis, an immune system disease in which uterine tissue is located outside the uterus, can be painful and affects more women than you think. An estimated 89 million women suffer from endometriosis around the world, and many of them don’t realize they have the condition.
The Endometriosis Association estimates that it takes almost 10 years from the onset of symptoms for a doctor to make a diagnosis in a woman suffering from endometriosis.
“The medial teaching on endometriosis was that it’s a disease of women in their reproductive years, not adolescents,” said Mary Lou Ballweg, president and executive director of the association to The New York Times. “We hear that girls are told they’re too young to have the disease, they’re trying to get out of school, or that they’re exaggerating. Add the misconception that pain with menstruation is normal, and you get a bundle of confusion.”
Most gynecologists are uncomfortable treating younger women with gynecological complications, said Ballweg, and pediatricians don’t treat adolescents. Reproductive surgeon Grace Janik points out that the scarcity of knowledge about the disease in adolescents is the fundamental issue in the problem of women being diagnosed too late in life.
Learn more about endometriosis in adolescents on GoodHousekeeping.com.
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