Illinois action blog

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Endometriosis Awareness Month

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month, which gives us an opportunity to educate ourselves on this disease which affects millions of women and girls globally.

Endometriosis is a leading cause of infertility for women and is mostly diagnosed in women in their 30s or 40s. Among other things, the disease can cause chronic pelvic pain, painful menstruation, large ovarian cysts, pain with sexual activity, urinary tract infections, and more. Many women who have Endometriosis will sometimes have no symptoms.

The good news is that some hormonal birth control methods can be used to manage endometriosis and may actually help prevent long-term damage to the reproductive system caused by this disease. While the most common reason women use the pill is to prevent pregnancy, 58 percent of pill users also cite other health benefits as a motivating factor.

The good news is that we can do something. Watch out for the symptoms of endometriosis, like chronic pain in the pelvic area, and most often during menstrual periods. If you think you or a loved one may have the disease, contact your local Planned Parenthood health center to make an appointment.

We also need to take action to ensure that all women have access to birth control that can help them manage this difficult disease. That’s why it’s important to call, write, or reach out to your Congressperson online and let them know that you support access to birth control.

As the leading provider for women's health care, Planned Parenthood of Illinois sees many patients for preventive health care like birth control every year.

To learn more about Planned Parenthood's work to make sure all women have access to birth control, please visit www.plannedparethood.org.

To learn more about endometriosis, please visit the Endometriosis Foundation of America at www.endofound.org.

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Patient Spotlight:

Courtney and Son
For women like Courtney from Chicago, access to affordable birth control was life changing. When she was 17, she was diagnosed with endometriosis.

During graduate school, when many of her friends "aged out" of their parent's medical insurance, Planned Parenthood provided her with affordable birth control, which managed the condition and prevented long-term damage to the reproductive system.

Courtney and daughter
She now has two beautiful, healthy children. As Courtney said during an event with Planned Parenthood this past summer, "My son and daughter are both here with me today because without Planned Parenthood, they wouldn’t be here today. I am sure of that."

We are so honored to have met Courtney and her two beautiful children this summer. It is stories like hers that move us to do everything we can to be there for women and men and Illinois every day - no matter what.

Have you or a loved one suffered challenges due to endometriosis? Share your story with us in the comments section or email mystory@ppil.org.

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This post was created by Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL). PPIL provides comprehensive reproductive healthcare services and education to more than 60,000 Illinoisans each year. Planned Parenthood Illinois Action (PPIA) is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of PPIL.

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