Though the word, Endometriosis is tongue twisting, the health disorder is common with one in every 10 women of reproductive ages, suffering from its unbearable pain. Regrettably, there is poor awareness among many women concerning the disease. Even some of those in the medical world began only recently to identify the symptoms and pay proper attention to the health condition.
In view of this, a Non –Governmental Organisation (NGO), Endometriosis Support Group Nigeria (ESGN) in collaboration with Nordica Fertility Centre and the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria (MBGN) 2015, has taken awareness of the health disorder to Queen’s College, Yaba, Lagos.
Central to the objective of the sensitization exercise, according to the Managing Director, Nordica Fertility Centre, Lagos, and ESGN representative, Dr. Abayomi Ajayi, was to educate the girls about the devastating health implications of Endometriosis and the need to seek early medical intervention for those affected.
Addressing the students during their morning assembly on Monday, Ajayi who is a fertility expert said the awareness exercise was crucial for better management of the condition, more so, that it has no cure for now.
According to Ajayi, Endometriosis occurs when tissue similar to the lining of the womb is found elsewhere – most commonly on the ovaries, in the recto-vaginal septum, bladder and bowel.
That tissue he noted behaves like the lining of the womb, bleeding every month, and can cause severe and chronic pain.
He told the students not to joke with any issue relating to Endometriosis, because it has some unbearable health consequences, such as chronic pain, painful sex and infertility just to mention a few and that it affects women in the prime of their life.
Giving further insight into the condition which he said affects over 200 million women worldwide, Ajayi noted: “ Often dismissed as ‘women’s troubles’, Endometriosis affects one in 10 women of reproductive age, yet a lack of research and funding means sufferers can live in severe pain, unable to work or socialize. The hidden toll and extraordinary neglect of this disease affects millions of women around the globe, causing many to suffer a life of pain and debilitation and sometimes infertility. Unfortunately, often their primary care doctors do not know what it is and the specialists to whom they are sent are not just thinking of it.”
He also pointed out that Endometriosis is not a lifestyle disease though; its causes are unknown while stressing the need for early diagnosis.
“It is not a disease you get later in life. It attacks teens, young women when they should be out being active, working, having children, having sex – 50 per cent of them are struggling with sex because it is too painful. Endometriosis has existed in the twilight for centuries because of society’s reluctance to discuss what was euphemistically known for so long as “women’s troubles”, he said.
To avoid delay or possible misdiagnosis of the condition, Ajayi appealed to the school authority not to treat with kid gloves, any student who complains of painful menstruation and whose monthly periods keeps away from regular academic activities as those could be some possible signs of Endometriosis.
He also enjoined the students to take the awareness to their parents and friends as well as seek medical intervention from gynaecologists whenever they have symptoms of Endometriosis, assuring them that the disorder can be managed like other health conditions like diabetes, hypertension among others when detected early.
In her speech, MBGN 2015 winner and former student of the college, Unoaku Temitope Anyadike, said she was in her Alma-Mata, to educate the students about the condition as a result of the general lack of awareness about Endometriosis among Nigerians.
Anyadike, who is a graduate of Psychology, University of Ibadan, said she chose raising awareness about Endometrosis as her pet project because at some points in her life, she thought she had the condition owing to painful and terrible menstruation.
The 21-year-old queen who hails from Anambra State, said though she was not diagnosed of Endometriosis after seeing a doctor, assured that she would continue to raise awareness about the condition until it gets the attention it deserves from relevant authorities especially the government.
Expressing delight over the visit, Director/Principal, Queen’s College, Lagos, Dr. (Mrs.) Lami Amodu, commended management of Nordica Fertility Centre for the programme, adding that with the information they have gathered from the exercise , they will be in a better position to manage some of their students who often complain of painful menstruation.
This story was published in Newswatch Times on March 3, 2016.