I entirely agree with those sentiments. As I said, I hope this debate will go beyond the Department for Work and Pensions. I thank the hon. Lady for that contribution; it is spot on.
Endometriosis affects 1.5 million women in the UK. It takes an average of eight years to diagnose and there is not really a cure.
I will share a few examples from women who have spoken out through the digital platform. One said:
“I have suffered with endometriosis since the age of 15 and I was diagnosed aged 22. The worst thing about endometriosis is the lack of awareness. Even some doctors haven’t even heard of it which is very frustrating! I’ve had 4 surgeries to try to alleviate the symptoms. Unfortunately, this hasn’t worked. I want to try to basically create more awareness of endometriosis, especially online, as much as I can.”
Another woman said:
“I was diagnosed with endometriosis in May 2016. I would say 2 years was spent actively pursuing a diagnosis. But the previous 9 years I often went to the doctors, complained of pain and heavy flow and I was told ‘it’s just a bad period, it’s normal’. The hardest part of endometriosis for me would be the mental health side of things, coming to terms with the fact my body has limits and my life probably isn’t going to take the direction I thought it would.”
Someone else said:
“I was 17 when I was diagnosed with endometriosis. I’ve had 6 surgeries since. The thing I hate most about endometriosis is not being able to plan ahead because you don’t know how your pain is going to be that day. You could be absolutely fine, or you could be crippled.”
A young woman said:
“I was diagnosed with endometriosis on the
Another story comes from a woman who said:
“I was diagnosed when I was 25 when I had a miscarriage. I had been struggling since I was a teenager with all the common signs of endometriosis. It just wasn’t picked up until I had my first surgery. What I hate most about endometriosis is that it takes time away from my children. Especially when I have to just go and rest in bed. I would love to be able to make it more aware for children, especially young girls and in schools, to be able to support them through this and see the early signs and educate GPs on the signs and symptoms.”