All Woman

Women's march to highlight endometriosis and its effects

Friday, March 07, 2014    

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JAMAICA will next week Thursday join more than 50 countries across the globe in participating in the first ever staging of the 'Million Woman March' for endometriosis, which is seeking to bring awareness to the disease which affects 176 million people worlwide.

Endometriosis is a female health condition that occurs when cells from the lining of the womb (uterus) grow in other areas of the body. Symptoms include intermittent and/or chronic pelvic pain; bowel or urinary disorders; irregular bleeding; painful menstruation; rectal pain; painful intercourse and infertility.

Shauna Fuller Clarke, co-founder of the Better Awareness and Support for Endometriosis Foundation, said Governor General Patrick Allen had already officially declared March as Endometriosis Awareness Month, paving the way for the country's first observance of the month.

Clarke, who was diagnosed with stage four endometriosis, said there is lack of awareness about the disease in Jamaica which affects about 100,000 young girls and women. She said, too, that that there was a need for early screening and more research.

"There is a lot of shame associated with it because we don't speak about the women's organ and infertility which is one of the top three causes of endometriosis, so we want to bring awareness and promote medical research, not among women but the general public and the medical fraternity as it takes an average eight to 10 years for a proper diagnosis and we need that to be reduced because it can really affects a woman's quality of life," she said.

"Among us there are many who suffer from this disease and our attempts to bring a face to this issue are geared at stimulating conversation so that our girls and women can recognise that we don't have to live in shame because of this and that there are treatment options (so) and we don't have to suffer in silence," Fuller Clarke added.

Heath Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson on Sunday lauded the efforts of BASE Foundation in bringing awareness to the public about endometriosis.

Jamaica's leg of the march will start at 11:00 am at Devon House and end at Emancipation Park, via Trafalgar Road and Knutsford Boulevard. A rally will be held later in the park, where invited guests will speak on the importance of women's health, highlighting chronic pelvic diseases.

Interested persons can register for the event at www.basejamaica.com. Participants are also being encouraged to wear yellow, which is the awareness colour for endometriosis.

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