Endometriosis afflicts millions of women, but few talk about it

Endometriosis pain can be so severe that it impairs a person’s ability to keep up with school, succeed at work or have a satisfying sex life. Photo: Pexels

(Kristina S. Brown/ The Conversation) — Endometriosis causes physical, sexual and emotional pain. About 190 million people around the globe have endometriosis, including one in 10 American women, but there has historically been a deafening silence about the disease and the pervasive impact it can have on a person’s life.

While endometriosis is a chronic gynecological illness that can affect anyone with a uterus – women, transgender men and nonbinary individuals – it often goes undiagnosed because its symptoms can be attributed to other physical or psychological concerns. Patients presenting with this pain are often told it is “all in your head.”

However, endometriosis is becoming a more visible illness, thanks in part to celebrities such as Lena Dunham, Chrissy Teigen, Amy Schumer, Whoopi Goldberg and others who have begun sharing their stories publicly. After going undiagnosed for 23 years, Padma Lakshmi, a popular cookbook author, actress and host of the TV show “Top Chef,” founded EndoFund, previously Endometriosis Foundation of America, in 2009 so that others do not have to go through what she did. (…)