For those of us who work in menstrual health, March is also recognized as a month that promotes advocacy and awareness of endometriosis. Throughout March you may see women (and men) sporting yellow ribbons or public campaigns that include flashes of yellow. While all of these are important, like many other diseases, it’s equally important that we draw awareness to endometriosis all year long.
Often a silent disease, endometriosis affects one in ten women of childbearing age in the United States, and 176 million women worldwide. As a menstrual related disease, endometriosis occurs when the endometrium, the tissue that lines the uterus and is shed every month during menses, grows outside of the uterus on other organs or structures in the body. Because of its location, outside of the uterus, this growth is not shed during menses and symptoms can range from painful menstrual cramps to incapacitating abdominal and pelvic pain and infertility.
Diva International Inc. is committed to helping to draw awareness and further advance research for all women living with endometriosis. Over the last two years, we have offered support and partnered with organizations like the Endometriosis Foundation of America (EFA) and The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research because we believe that by working together, a cure can be found.
In 2014, Diva International Inc. committed to provide menstrual cups for the Feinstein’s ROSE Study (Research OutSmarts Endometriosis) in an effort to help advance the care and knowledge of endometriosis. Over the next five years (and beyond), the goal of the ROSE study, which has received funding from the Endometriosis Foundation of America (an organization co-founded by Dr. Tamer Seckin and Padma Lakshmi) is to investigate the cause of endometriosis and bring improved diagnostics and treatments for women living with the disease. One element of the study includes asking participants to provide a sample of menstrual flow through the use of The DivaCup. The DivaCup easily collects flow, is super comfortable and if women choose, can be used as their preferred femcare option after they’ve submitted the sample.
There are many ways the Diva Community can help with endometriosis awareness. We’ve listed a few ideas below, but also want to hear from you! What are you doing this March to help advocate for endometriosis awareness?Enroll in ROSE: The ROSE study is actively looking for participants. Women both living with and living without endometriosis in both Canada and the United States can participate in the ROSE study to help find answers for those who are suffering. Learn more here. Draw Awareness: Wear a yellow ribbon and distribute information brochures to start the conversation. Educate: Healthcare providers and educators play a key role in diagnosis. Teaching patients and students about the symptoms of endometriosis helps ensure early diagnosis and support. Educating young girls that “killer cramps are not normal” is at the forefront of mission behind the Endometriosis Foundation of America (EFA). You can help EFA in their educational efforts by downloading and sharing their resources or by giving a gift to their Paint the Town Yellow campaign. The Diva Team was especially excited to see a feature article by Endometriosis Foundation of America co-founder, Padma Lakshmi in the March 23, 2015 issue of People! Be SupportiveL Women living with endometriosis, live with the symptoms year round. Many struggle with infertility, cramps so painful they miss school or work as well as a host of other issues. Simply asking about the disease or if there is anything you can do to help goes a long way.
*** If you or someone you know experiences painful periods it’s important to talk to a healthcare provider to ensure early detection and support. This guest post by the Endometriosis Foundation of America provides more details about the disease and links to resources and support.