ESIF Raises Awareness on Endometriosis
By Adedapo Adesanya
A Lagos-based non-governmental organisation (NGO), EndoSurvivors International Foundation (ESIF), has announced a series of events to mark Endometriosis awareness month which is held worldwide in March every year – popularly tagged March4Endo by advocates all over the world.
Endometriosis is a chronic inflammatory condition where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus is found in places such as the ovaries, rectum and fallopian tubes causing pain and/or infertility. It can also be found at extrapelvic sites such as the lungs, diaphragm, intestines and even the brain.
Endometriosis is a debilitating disease that affects between 2-10 per cent of girls/women usually of reproductive age, globally. It is therefore estimated that about 176 million women on earth are living with endometriosis. However, for a disease so prevalent, there is hardly any awareness about it.
Since the foundation’s inception in 2017, EndoSurvivors has held annual symposia to enlighten the public and healthcare providers on endometriosis; its symptoms, diverse yet enigmatic presentations and its impact on sufferers.
Women with endometriosis suffer unimaginable pain, productivity loss, social isolation, relationship strains, infertility and its stigma, anxiety and depression and to tackle this, ESIF has organized awareness outreaches to secondary schools in Lagos having reached over 6,000 adolescent girls with menstrual hygiene and endometriosis awareness lessons, distributed over 4,000 packs of sanitary pads, made donations to orphanages and much more.
March4Endo events this year include an Endo Awareness Day to be held at 7 a.m. on Saturday, March 12, which we have tagged Cycle/Walk4Endo. Participants will embark on a 3km walk and a 7km cycling in a bid to raise awareness about endometriosis.
ESIF intends to create awareness to up to 2,000 people through the distribution of fliers and one-on-one engagement with Lagosians. There will also be free pelvic ultrasound for 100 women, free consultation, free T-shirts, refreshments, aerobics, dance and counselling for endometriosis patients. The convergence point for the walk is JJT Park, Alausa.
On Thursday, March 24, at 9 a.m., the Foundation will be hosting the 4th Annual Symposium themed The Role of Imaging in Diagnosing Endometriosis which is scheduled to hold in the Main Auditorium of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR).
The UK Deputy High Commissioner, Mr Ben Llewellyn-Jones will be the Guest of Honour, the Director-General of NIMR, Professor Babatunde Lawal Salako as the keynote speaker and other distinguished experts in the field of gynaecology, radiology, sonography, nursing and general medicine sharing their profound knowledge on the subject matter whilst gracing the event with their presence.
March4Endo will be rounded off with menstrual hygiene/endometriosis awareness lessons and free distribution of sanitary pads to 500 secondary school girls in Lagos on Tuesday, March 29, 2022.
Endometriosis is a painful condition although some persons may not experience pain, pain is is a common denominator for many suffering from it.
Symptoms of endometriosis include but is not limited to: infertility, painful periods, chronic pelvic pain, heavy menstrual bleeding, pain during urination and bowel movements, pain during sexual intercourse, bloating, fatigue, nausea and chest pain. The symptoms often occur before, during and after periods often causing girls/women to take time off from daily activities including work and school.
There is no known cause for endometriosis however, diagnosis can be made through medical imaging and excision laparoscopy which is done by endometriosis excision specialists.
The average time from onset of symptoms to diagnosis is 7 – 10 years. Many girls/women experience a delay in diagnosis for a number of reasons commonly attributed to poor awareness and deficiency in the healthcare systems.