The Endometriosis Foundation of America has an outreach program called endometriosis education (previously ENPOWR) with the aim to educate people about endometriosis and encourage constructive dialogue.
Endometriosis affects more than 176 million women worldwide or 1 in 10 women of reproductive age. It is the leading cause of infertility, chronic pelvic pain, and other health concerns that drastically affect the overall quality of life of many women.
There are still a lot of stigmas around endometriosis and menstruation itself across cultures, ethnicities, and even among medical professionals.
Importance of endometriosis education in schools
Endometriosis is often misdiagnosed and underdiagnosed. Most women wait eight or more years from the onset of symptoms to receive a diagnosis. Education about endometriosis is key to promote early intervention and raise awareness.
Endometriosis is particularly challenging to diagnose in adolescents. Adolescents may start experiencing endometriosis symptoms as teenagers or even as early as the time of their first menstrual period. One of the prominent symptoms of endometriosis is dysmenorrhea (painful periods). Dysmenorrhea is reported in about 25-93% of adolescents with about 20-31% of these those suffering not being able to attend school due to dysmenorrhea. If left untreated, dysmenorrhea can progress into chronic pelvic pain.
Large disparities in diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis also mean that adolescents don’t receive correct information about their condition and its treatment. Laparoscopic excision surgery is the “gold standard” for the diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis. Understanding this at an early stage of the disease is key to prevent its progress and reduce its impact on a patient’s life.
Endometriosis education for people worldwide
Endometriosis education uses an interactive presentation of about 45 minutes. The presentation is designed using evidence-based methods that can be conducted for audiences of all sizes. The content is in accordance with the State University of New York’s Common Core, Living Environment standards. So far, it has educated more than 15,200 adolescents in the New York area.
Endo EduKit: promoting awareness and treatment-seeking behavior
The Endometriosis Foundation of America launched Endo EduKit in 2016. The aim was to take endometriosis education to schools all over the world and to promote timely, treatment-seeking behavior. Endo EduKit has educated more than 38,121 adolescents worldwide completing more than 1,253 lessons.
Endo EduKit has been pivotal in raising awareness about endometriosis in adolescents. Many students now realize that long, painful periods are not the norm. They understand that they need not listen to unsolicited advice from people around them but rather seek proper medical intervention.
Endometriosis education and Endo EduKit have helped increase dialogue and remove stigmas associated with menstruation and endometriosis. The programs have also encouraged the participation of adolescent males so that they can have a better understanding of menstruation and develop empathy and care towards women.
The Endometriosis Foundation of America has also constituted an award to recognize excellence and a commitment to women’s health education.
Contributing to endometriosis education
Community participation has always been key to the success of endometriosis education across the world. You can support the endometriosis education program by signing up as a volunteer for teaching adolescents across various schools and colleges in your area.
You can also donate to the program. Just a $10 donation can cover expenses for endometriosis education materials for one student and their family.