Endometriosis is a common condition experienced by 1 in 10 women, trans and non-binary menstruators of reproductive age. The disease can cause debilitating conditions, including chronic pelvic pain, and is sometimes associated with infertility. Many suffer silently for years without a diagnosis, enduring extreme pain, nausea and other symptoms. Due to the stigma and shame associated with menstruation and the lack of knowledge and education around what constitutes a “normal” period, many sufferers never seek help or, if they do, find their concerns dismissed.
There is no cause yet known for the disease, and diagnostics and treatment can often be severely delayed from the onset of symptoms. In many cases, menstruators can go up to eight years or longer without a diagnosis. Endometriosis can be treated through medical and surgical interventions, but long surgery wait times can cause further delays in treatment.
Research shows that youth with endometriosis symptoms are more likely to miss one or more days of school per month, causing them to fall behind in their studies and leading to adverse effects on their grades and self-confidence. For adults with endometriosis, this can translate to a loss of 10 hours of productivity per week. It is estimated that endometriosis costs the Canadian economy $1.8 billion per year.
That's why I tabled a bill to formally recognize March as Endometriosis Awareness Month in Ontario.
On December 1, 2021 the bill passed Second Reading in the Ontario legislature. Watch my remarks from the debate:
Increasing public awareness of endometriosis is imperative as many menstruators spend years unaware their symptoms are abnormal. Delays in diagnosis and treatment can negatively impact education, work and quality of life for those with endometriosis. Proclaiming the month of March Endometriosis Awareness Month in Ontario provides an opportunity to educate the public about this common yet misunderstood disease and to encourage conversations and education around what is a “normal” period.
And while we raise awareness with the public, we are also calling on the government to do more to expand access to treatment and support for those living with Endometriosis, with a provincial strategy and funding to make that happen.
- Take Action: Sign the petition to recognize Endometriosis Awareness Month in Ontario.
- Learn more about Endometriosis at Endometriosis Network Canada