Endometriosis affects 43 million women in India: Study

New Delhi: About 43 million women in India suffer from endometriosis, revealed a study on Thursday. Endometriosis is a painful gynaecological condition that affects 10 per cent of girls and women between the reproductive ages of 15 to 49 years.

Globally, the condition affects roughly 190 million girls and women in the reproductive age.

Researchers from the George Institute for Global Health, India, in a research brief presented in the national Capital on Thursday, stated that unlike many other chronic illnesses, governments globally, as well as in India, have paid little to no attention to endometriosis.

They also lamented that funding for research has remained woefully inadequate.

The growing body of research on endometriosis has largely been from high-income countries (HICs) and very little is known about the reality of women living with the condition in India.

Women with endometriosis suffer from a diverse and complex range of symptoms with severe and life-impacting pain.

Hormonal changes in the body during the monthly cycle cause the cells in the endometrial-like tissue to grow, and then break down and bleed into places where it cannot escape.

While menstrual blood leaves the body during menstruation, this blood remains inside, leading to inflammation and formation of scar tissue. This scar tissue can form adhesions that can cause severe pelvic pain.

“Normalisation of menstrual pain and lack of awareness on endometriosis are some of the key reasons for delayed diagnosis and delay in women seeking treatment for this condition,” Dr. Preety Rajbangshi, Senior Research Fellow, leading India’s Global Women’s Health Programme at the institute, told IANS.

“Endometriosis is missing as a public health concern in women’s health and we hope to come up with policy recommendations and a wider spectrum of research in this area,” she added.

For the study, a team led by Dr. Preety interviewed 21 women and 10 male partners from Delhi and Assam, above the age of 18 years who were laparoscopically diagnosed with endometriosis.

The study aimed to explore women’s experiences of endometriosis and its impact on them and their partners’ lives.

The findings suggest the sobering impact of endometriosis on both women and their male partners and how they face challenges in leading normal lives.

It impacts both women and their male partners in different ways as they battle psychological and in some cases financial issues.

It showed that there are similarities and differences on how the condition affects different life domains of women and their partners.

There is a need to further understand the long term impact of endometriosis on women’s lives.

“Our findings highlight the need to improve early diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis to reduce its impact on women and their partners’ lives,” the researchers wrote in the brief, submitted to a peer review journal for publishing.

“In the Indian context, more research is needed to explore the social significance of endometriosis as a chronic condition, and what can be done to improve service delivery and reduce the negative impact of this condition on women’s lives,” they added.

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