Jessica Plenzick and April Hamm collaborated to arrange a significant event for FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in St. Catharines as part of the Endometriosis Awareness Month. The aim was to eliminate the stigmas associated with this debilitating condition, which has been misunderstood and misdiagnosed. Due to limited awareness and understanding among healthcare providers and patients alike, events offer a platform for women to voice their concerns, have men come learn how to be our allies and advocate for us along with spreading awareness and learning from experts.
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is the presence of cells, similar to the lining of the uterus that grows on the outside of the uterus, and in some cases, other locations in the body, to form lesions, cysts, nodules and other growths, the cause is still unknown/debated topic. It can cause inflammation and scarring which can result in severe pain, infertility, and much more. There is no cure but there are various treatments for symptoms, from medications, excision surgery, and a holistic whole body approach as it can affect one’s quality of life. Some holistic approaches could include; pain management, pelvic floor therapy, osteopathy, mental health support, Naturopath visits, nutritional strategies, yoga, mindfulness practices, fertility preservation and more.
Endometriosis affects approximately 10% of women globally and it often takes anywhere from 7 to 9 years to diagnosis and in another study documented that more than 50% of general practitioners could not identify three main symptoms of endometriosis, and more than 60% were uncomfortable with diagnosing and managing the condition.
The event featured the film “Below the Belt” which explored the experiences of women with endometriosis, talking of the stigma surrounding endometriosis and the need for greater awareness and understanding within the medical system. Following the film, attendees had the opportunity to tune into a powerful panel discussion by our moderator Ruth Unrau with the panelists consisting of; fertility specialist Dr. Karen B. Glass, pelvic floor physiotherapist Jill Muller, St Catharines MPP Jennie Stevens, Registered Psychotherapist and Social Worker Suzanne Luxemburger and Naturopath doctor Fiona McCulloch. The panelists shared their insights and perspectives on the condition, addressing common misconceptions and offering resources and treatments on how to support those affected by it.
The attendees of the event comprised a diverse group of engaged community members, including our local politicians, staff and students from local community college/university, and a large network of healthcare professionals and allies. We were incredibly pleased that approximately 15 percent were men. Interacting with others and participating in such events can prove to be immensely valuable for individuals who may feel isolated or unsupported in their experiences. Creating more awareness of endometriosis, we contribute to ending the stigma surrounding the condition and encourage further research into its causes and treatment, ultimately, improving better outcomes for patients.
For those who missed the event, or would like to get involved to help improve women’s health equity please take the first step and contact your local MPP. You can write to your elected official as an effective way to make your concerns about endometriosis heard and highlight the areas where you want to see action. When you create connections through phone calls, emails or letters to your elected officials, you create an important link between your issue and decision makers. Don’t underestimate the power that your voice has in making positive changes! (sourced: EndoAct.ca)
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Last modified: April 4, 2023