Endometriosis is a common disease in which tissue that is similar to that lining the womb grows outside it in other parts of the body. It is also known as the " career woman's disease" based on the idea that women without children are more likely to develop the disease. Lena Dunham announced earlier this year that she was taking a break from promoting her television series Girls for health reasons due to symptoms related to endometriosis. Several news outlets published incorrect statements and facts about the commonly misunderstood illness after her announcement. Notably CNN made the claim that hysterectomy is the only absolute cure for the condition.

The disease often affects the pelvic organs of menstruating women of all ages, but can involve bowel, bladder, and even has been reported rarely in muscle, joints lungs and brain. It is estimated that 10% of women suffer with endometriosis at some point in their lives, often starting in adolescence. The symptoms are variable, and include pelvic pain (as the tissue outside the uterus swells and bleeds) and damage to fertility although it is unclear how this occurs. The estimate is that the cost of endometriosis to Australian society is $7.7 billion annually due to lost productivity and direct healthcare costs.

Some facts about endometriosis:

  • Pain levels are not related to the extent of the disease.
  • There is no cure or prevention, the cause is unknown.
  • Teenagers are not too young to have endometriosis.
  • Period pain is not normal.
  • Endometriosis does not always cause infertility.
  • Hysterectomy and pregnancy is not a cure.
  • The diagnosis can only correctly be made surgically.
  • Endometriosis is not a STI
  • Diagnosis is often delayed, giving the impression that the disease occurs in women 30-40 years of age.
  • Treatments include hormonal therapy to inhibit the growth of the disease and surgery to remove the lesions, but the treatment provide relief not cure.
  • Recent theories focusing of the role of environmental toxins and diet have placed a burden on the individual to eat organic food and avoid apparent risks to their health that are yet to be confirmed scientifically
  • There is no evidence that a woman is responsible for causing her disease due to reproductive, psychological or behavioural choices

Endometriosis Australia is a nationally accredited charity who aims to increase recognition of endometriosis, provide education programs and funding for research (

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