Medical Practitioners Raise Awareness for Endometriosis

March 11, 2024
Awareness for Endometriosis

By Adedapo Adesanya

Medical experts have called for increased efforts regarding treatment and awareness regarding endometriosis as Lagos-based non-governmental organisation (NGO), EndoSurvivors International Foundation (ESIF), marked another March4Endo walk over the weekend.

ESIF hosted a Walk & Cycle for Endo event at Dr Abayomi Finnih Park, Opebi-link Bridge, Ikeja on Saturday, March 9.

Endometriosis Awareness Month, which is held worldwide in March every year and popularly tagged March4Endo advocates all over the world, is done to bring mindfulness to the debilitating disease that affects between 2-10 per cent of girls/women usually of reproductive age, globally.

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.

It is 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.

Speaking on this, Dr Modupe Adedeji, the Assistant Secretary in the Society of Gynaecologists and Obstetrics of Nigeria (Nigeria), Lagos Sector, said endometriosis was a critical illness that needed more attention.

“It is a condition that has suffered underdiagnosis and people don’t know about it and there is so much myth around it. So the awareness is very important.”

Dr Adedeji, who is also representative of the Association of Gynae-endoscopists (AGES), said the need to educate is very important especially from menarche, which is the first menstrual period in a female adolescent, adding that many may overlook what is essentially a ticking time bomb in women’s reproduction.

“We tend to have a lot of people come to us because it [endometriosis] is a disease of exclusion. What do I mean by that… there are so many other gynaecological conditions that present the same way. It is left for you to exclude all that and diagnose properly,” she said.

The specialist also said it is associated with infertility, which is what spurs many to seek medical assistance, and upon the procedure, it is often discovered that endometriosis triggers hostility.

She further called for more support from private hands and individuals so that proper and adequate attention could be applied.

Her stance was echoed by Dr Godwin Mba, a gynaecologist consultant at the Women and Children Hospital, Southshore in Lagos, who noted that awareness was important because the disease while common has a low diagnostics rate and awareness was sub-par.

He also noted that endometriosis affects economic activities.

“Many are not aware of what the problem is, and the burden of pain has taken a toll even on their day-to-day output, economic loss is looking so high and manhours are affected because this illness is still yet below the level of diagnosis that it is supposed to attain.”

He called for more interest in the illness “Because even though it appears to be a women-related disease, men are also affected… The domestic front is also being affected, so awareness like this, which should be restricted by ESIF, should be a nationwide campaign. Awareness is number 1.”

On her part, Ms Oyinkan Osisanya, the Founder of MyGynae Foundation– a not-for-profit organisation looking into women’s reproductive health called for more research into women’s related issues like endometriosis and fibroids among others.

“Research is lacking. So these sorts of conditions when research is put into it, you will be able to collect data to understand the cycle and get the know-how and what to do about it. When people share their experiences, they will have similarities that will point you to the real issues. But if we don’t do research, we are not going to get anywhere.”

The founder of ESIF, Mrs Olivia Nwankudu, who also manages the thriving EndoSurvivors’ Patient Support Group for endometriosis and adenomyosis patients in Nigeria, expressed satisfaction and called for more participation, especially with young girls.

She also called for more partnerships between private stakeholders and the government to tackle the prevalence of the disease, which affects a considerable number of the Nigerian population.

“We want more effective treatment,” she noted.

ESIF will also host the 5th Annual Endometriosis Patient’s Day Symposium themed, “Endometriosis and Infertility” at 9 am on Thursday, March 21, 2024, at the main auditorium of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Yaba.

The symposium will bring together healthcare professionals, researchers, policymakers, and endometriosis patients to discuss the latest developments in endometriosis research, treatment, and advocacy.

The keynote speaker for this year’s event is Emeritus Professor Frank Giwa-Osagie, an esteemed Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology – one of the leading voices of Assisted Reproductive Technologies globally.

The event will also feature other expert speakers, panel discussions, and interactive sessions to educate and empower attendees.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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