Condition Impacts One in Ten Women of Reproductive Age
Aiming to shed light on a condition of vital importance to women’s health, a resolution to permanently designate March of each year as “Endometriosis Awareness Month” in New Jersey was approved 73-0-0 Monday by the full Assembly.
Assembly Democrats Yvonne Lopez (D-Middlesex), Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) and Joann Downey (D-Monmouth) are sponsors of the resolution.
The measure (AJR130) calls on public officials and the community to observe the month by increasing awareness and stressing the importance of diagnosing endometriosis.
“It is important that we sound the alarm about this health issue impacting so many women,” said Lopez. “We need to learn more about this condition and the best ways to treat it.”
Endometriosis is a disease in which the endometrium, a type of tissue that normally grows in the uterus, also grows outside of the uterus. It occurs in approximately one in 10 women of reproductive age and affects approximately 176 million women worldwide. Endometriosis currently can only be diagnosed with certainty via a laparoscopic surgical procedure.
“Despite the fact that so many women experience endometriosis, information and education is still lacking,” said Vainieri Huttle. “This resolution looks to raise awareness amongst women, especially since the condition can impact their ability to bear children. Empowered with information, women can hopefully better understand this condition and get the care that they need.”
“If we can educate more women about this condition and have it diagnosed, the earlier it can be treated,” said Downey. “This could possibly lessen its severity and the potential health complications it can pose, including infertility.”
Many women with endometriosis live with debilitating, chronic pain, and approximately 30-50 percent of women with endometriosis experience infertility. Women have an average delay of up to 10 years between the first symptoms of pain and the final endometriosis diagnosis. Endometriosis can affect every organ of the body, including the bowel, bladder, ureters, lungs, diaphragm, skin, eyes, and brain. Health care providers manage its symptoms with treatments that can include in-vitro fertilization, low-dose oral contraceptives, intrauterine devices, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist therapy.
The bill was introduced in May and cleared the Assembly Women and Children Committee on February 14. It now heads to the Senate for further consideration.