More serious talks needed

There is hope that going forward there are more discussions had on the topic of women’s health and fertility.

Julia Mandeville, President of the Barbados Association of Endometriosis and PCOS made the comments during an interview with The Barbados Advocate, as she noted that both Endometriosis and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) are more common among women than are thought, and are often responsible for infertility issues. Mandeville, herself an endo warrior, lamented that because of the sensitive nature of both conditions, they are also often not talked about.

“With the addition of infertility, you may not necessarily be completely infertile, but you may not be able to carry a child full term; those are also issues that people hold close to them because they are embarrassed, because it may make them feel less than a woman,” she said.

The president added, “We need to do a lot of talking, we need to make sure people hear us. A lot of people feel as though a lot of medical professionals do not listen and that is a point I have noticed on a lot of social media forum, especially with endometriosis… It is not for us to bash the doctors or cry them down; we have to see how we can help them, so they can better help us. How can we work with them, because they have a lot of pressure too. The fact is doctors have to see many patients per day and may be crunched for time, but that does not excuse the dismissive behaviour some do give.”

Her comments came as she noted that in respect of endometriosis, of which chronic pain is a major symptom, too often the pain is dismissed as “just a period” and the person is told to “suck it up”. Mandeville made the point as she said that the Association would like to see greater recognition given to endometriosis and for persons in general and employers to be more tolerant towards persons who have been diagnosed with the condition.

“We are not asking for favouritism, we are not asking for pity, but we do have a condition that is debilitating, that has no cure and in some cases, the medication or treatment that is prescribed is expensive and harsh,” she said.

With that in mind, she said it is imperative that parents, for instance, know that when their teenage girls are complaining about painful periods, to take it seriously.

“We should take really take it seriously. But there is another side to that coin, because you don’t want to raise unnecessary alarm and so there is a fine line you have to tread. I don’t want to raise alarm saying if your child has pain every single period, it has to be endometriosis or PCOS. No, go to the doctor, let the doctor do an eval-uation and discuss your concerns with the doctor,” she added. (JRT)

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