Liz, an Arlington resident who had been abroad doing research, returned to Arlington in November 2019 for a conference, and while riding in the car with her mother, was doubled over in pain. She had been looked at for kidney stones, appendicitis, a pulled muscle, an ectopic pregnancy: nothing. She had a palpable, albeit small, mass in her muscle wall. It was time for a biopsy. It could have been a sarcoma. Or endometriosis.
By the time she was diagnosed with endometriosis, Liz had been in significant pain for four years. No doctor had pursued endometriosis as a cause of her distress. That is why one of the chief objectives of the Endometriosis Foundation is to make people aware of the disease, because early diagnosis and treatment is an important part of managing the cruel chronic condition.
March is Endometriosis Awareness Month. There are about 176 million reproductive-age women worldwide who have the disease. Endometriosis occurs when the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) is found growing outside of the uterine cavity, in places where it doesn't belong. The endometrium tissue forms cysts called implants that can be found on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or elsewhere within the abdominal cavity and sometimes beyond. The tissue responds to the hormonal changes of the menstrual cycle, building up and breaking down like the uterine lining. But unlike the uterine lining, it has no place to go, and can lead to pain, swelling, irritation and adhesions.
This March, the Endometriosis Foundation is asking for support by encouraging men and women to engage in healthy lifestyle activities. Participants do what makes them feel good every day while tracking their progress. They can walk, do yoga, meditate, volunteer, journal, or any other healthy activity—all while fundraising for endometriosis advocacy and education. Each healthy activity earns points, and each participant attempts to get sponsors to help them earn money according to the points they earn. For more information about the two week challenge which starts March first, see: EndoFound Event Page
And for more information about Endometriosis, see: https://www.endofound.org