Endometriosis Awareness Month: Fife woman calls for end to stigma
A Fife woman is calling for an end to the stigma of endometriosis as new figures show 62 per cent of women would put off going to the doctors with symptoms due to embarrassment or not being taken seriously.
The comments from Claire Watson come as she aims to raise more awareness of the painful long-term condition during Endometriosis Awareness month.
Claire is the leader of Fife’s first support group for women with the condition, Endo Fife, on behalf of the national charity, Endo UK and has continued to hold sessions online throughout the pandemic for women in the Kingdom.
The next meeting is due to take place on Tuesday March 16 at 7.15pm for anyone wanting to learn more about endometriosis and share their experience with others.
Endometriosis is caused by tissue, which normally grows inside the womb, growing in the pelvic area, leading to inflammation, scarring and adhesions. It can cause women a great deal of pain. Symptoms include painful and irregular periods, pain during and after intercourse, bowel problems and fatigue.
Claire was diagnosed with the condition in May 2011 after 16 years of misdiagnosis, and it changed her life forever.
She feels it is important to keep raising awareness, even during the pandemic: “My support group went online at start of pandemic with Go to meetings which Endo UK provided training and support to make this happen.
"I am holding groups every two months and the link (available on the Facebook page Endometriosis Fife) goes out to anyone who would like to attend. At my next meetin,I have guest speaker Scott Hutchison-Mcdade from The Centre for Positive Change. He runs a yoga studio in Kirkcaldy and is doing a talk on the importance of yoga and helping with endometriosis and your mental well-being.”
She said the online support groups are accessible for women and transgender people to join in and they don’t have to turn on the camera or speak if they don’t want to.
Claire continued: “I am still getting new people coming forward which is great because I want people to know there is support here in Fife.
"Endo Fife will be 10 this year so it is great women are still reaching out.”
Commenting on the new figures from Endometriosis UK, she said: “ With the new information that only 62% per cent of women would go to the doctors with symptoms of endometriosis because they’d be embarrassed, don’t think they’d be taken seriously, or think the symptoms, including painful periods are normal, is one of many things we need to change. I am hoping to spread as much awareness as possible so we can change this. Awareness is key to change.
“It’s so important to keep support groups going because the pandemic has brought anxiety, loneliness and bouts of depression and many people are also dealing with endometriosis. Without the support of groups all over Scotland, many more people would be alone.
"Surgeries and doctors appointments have all been put on hold which is understandable in the current situation so people still need the support of groups like Endo Fife.”