Endometriosis. You may have heard of this painful disorder as more awareness around it has been made through brave public disclosure, physician focus, and advocacy in recent years. It’s also possible you don’t know a whole lot about it, which highlights how much work there still is to do. I initially knew it had to do with painful menstruation, but that's about it. I have come to learn there is much more to it, which is why I’m running my 4th marathon on behalf of the Endometriosis Foundation.
Endometriosis has come up more often in my life. In the last few years, I chose to further my education and expertise as a Doctor of Physical Therapy by specializing in the pelvic floor and I have noticed endometriosis is a common diagnosis in the patients I treat. I use a combination of manual work, therapeutic exercise, and neuromuscular re-education to decrease pelvic pain. During this time, I have also begun to learn that many women I know have been diagnosed, both who have just found out or have been suffering for years. One of these women is my sister. This cause is now both professionally and personally significant to me.
- 1 in 10 women have endometriosis. That's 7 million women in the US, and at least 200 million women worldwide
- Endometriosis is an enormously painful disease where the tissue that lines the uterus grows outside the uterus, and can cause scarring, adhesions, and cysts elsewhere in the body
- It is one of the leading causes of infertility
- It takes an average of 10 years for someone to be diagnosed
- Symptoms include a disruption in daily due to painful periods, pelvic pain, heavy bleeding, painful intercourse, fatigue, urinary and bowel dysfunction...the list goes on.
- There is no known cause or cure, leading many women to having hysterectomies when that may not guarantee resolution
- You most likely know someone, or are someone, who is affected by this disease
These facts are surprising and upsetting. The symptoms linked to accurate diagnosis of this disorder are often not reported, dismissed or not treated successfully. I asked my sister after she was diagnosed with endometriosis, if she had been in pain. She said "yes, but I just figured that was normal".
I am thankful for the Endometriosis Foundation's commitment to awareness, advocacy and research to facilitate change and diagnose endometriosis earlier, discover new treatments and educate the next generation of medical professionals and their patients. And as you can see from the statistics, this is greatly needed. I am extremely proud to have been chosen as 1 of the 10 individuals to run the NYC marathon for #teamendofound. Please consider donating to this important cause and help make a difference in so many lives.
For more information about the organization and endometriosis itself please visit endofound.org and please visit/follow flexptny.com @flexptny for information about our pelvic floor physical therapy program.