It’s time, writes Abbey Lissaman, for doctors and researchers to focus on a debilitating health issue that affects 10 percent of women worldwide
We know how the heart works quite well. We know
This lack of knowledge has devastating consequences. Worldwide, 176 million people face life with a debilitating disease that causes severe abdominal pain and heavy bleeding. This means 176 million people are routinely forced to miss school, work, and social events because of the agony caused by their condition.
Worse, those 176 million people often lack any clear advice on what is happening to them. These people wait an average of 8.5 years for a diagnosis because their condition is so under-researched, and their symptoms
This is the reality for the estimated 10 percent of people with uteruses who suffer from endometriosis. Endometriosis, or mate kirikōpū in te reo Māori, is a disease
These cells respond to brain signals and hormonal fluctuations
Research concerning people with uteruses often seems to be a forgotten field. Despite the prevalence of mate kirikōpū in Aotearoa New Zealand and worldwide, there is a dearth of research on potential causes, treatments
Part of the reason for this is that menstrual cycles are considered too difficult to control for in studies with human
Secondly, mate kirikōpū tends to be overlooked, as a necessary research subject and as a potential diagnosis in the people who have it. Most people with uteruses identify as women, and there is a strong argument that sexism lies at the root of this problem.
If endometriosis is researched, the focus tends to be on its impact on fertility. While endometriosis does have a detrimental effect on people’s ability to conceive, this potential outcome tends to be viewed as more important than the simple need to prevent the extreme pain experienced by those with the condition. This should not be just about having babies. It is just as important to consider the impact on quality of life outside of reproductive capacity.
Part of the issue is that other areas
Indeed, the human endometrium is so understudied that we do not fully understand the normal state, let along its pathology.
With this background in mind, my research looks at the epigenetic regulation of the human endometrium. Essentially, we all have the same genes for everything, but there are certain factors that can attach to the genes to turn their expression on and off.
At different points of your life and at different
By comparing normal endometrial tissue with tissue from people
Endometriosis exacts a heavy toll. Endometriosis can only be officially diagnosed through invasive laparoscopic surgery. The problem is that surgery is inherently risky, there are long wait times to be booked for the surgery in the public system, and, without health insurance, the procedure will cost the patient thousands of dollars. Because of this, the more research done into potential diagnostic tools for endometriosis, the better.
The cause of mate kirikōpū itself remains a mystery