Endometriosis and School Life

Teenagers may experience endometriosis as early as their first period, and the disease can negatively impact their school life. However, an early diagnosis is often difficult to make and can take a long time. Patients may have to seek out several doctors before receiving a confirmatory diagnosis.

Endometriosis and School Life
Endometriosis and School Life

How common is endometriosis in school-age children?

Of the adolescents that are experiencing chronic pelvic pain, 1/3 of them may have endometriosis. The disease has been reported in girls as young as age 8.

Factors such as having relatives with endometriosis, uterine malformations, long menstrual cycles, early onset of menstruation, and low body mass index are some of the risk factors associated with endometriosis in adolescents.

Tips to reduce the effect of endometriosis on school life

Endometriosis presents a set of challenges that require understanding and cooperation from both the school and other pupils. Here are some tips to make your or your child’s day-to-day school life with endometriosis seem less arduous.

Opt for online classes if possible

With the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools shifted to an online mode of teaching, but many institutions have now resumed in-person classes. However, it may still be a good idea to get in touch with your school’s accessibility office. Perhaps they can still have online classes available, which may be helpful at least during as an option during your periods.

Maintain communication with your teachers and school administration

Endometriosis is still a misunderstood disease. So, you may have to educate teachers about the debilitating nature of the symptoms and why you may not be able to attend coursework or extra-curricular activities at short notice. Offer to clarify any doubts they may have. You can direct them to proper information sources such as the Endometriosis Foundation of America or Dr. Seckin’s blog for a better understanding of the disease.

Equip yourself well for school

Pain and discomfort during endometriosis are already quite strong. Having to carry your books and other course material on top of this can be exhausting. Try to carry only the essentials you need in a rolling backpack that includes your books. If your school allows electronic gadgets, carrying your course material in an e-reader or tablet could reduce the burden.

It may also be helpful to carry accessories such as a disposable heat pad, light snacks, medications, and a water bottle or thermos flask. Including a period kit comprised of extra underwear, pants, pads, and wipes can come in quite handy too.

Be your own advocate and do not hesitate to seek help

Remember that it is perfectly okay to ask for help. Being your own advocate for endometriosis is vital to having others understand your condition.

Pain during endometriosis can be cyclical. Let your teachers and the school’s accessibility office know how you experience pain. Also, tell them that you may need to use the bathroom often during class hours.

Your school nurse may be an excellent resource as well and it can be helpful if they know how you are doing and what you are experiencing as they may provide support for you in school during the times when being in the classroom is not ideal. If your school nurse does not know about endometriosis, you should direct them to the learning resources mentioned above (the Endometriosis Foundation of America or Dr. Seckin’s blog) for a better understanding of the disease.

Are you at school and have endometriosis? Please share your experience with others  by leaving a comment on our post on Facebook or Instagram

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