A Message from Dr. Hal Lawrence, Executive Vice President & CEO of American College of Obstetrician and Gynecologists
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the nation’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women, is a proud endorser of the Worldwide Endometriosis March (EndoMarch). While I am honored to be the recipient of the EndoMarch’s Endo Hero of the Year award, I know that we. as ob-gyns, must do our part to raise awareness about the condition with patients, strive to improve our understanding of the disease and ensure more timely and accurate diagnoses.
The numbers say it all:
- Endometriosis is thought to affect more than 11 percent of American women and girls.
- This condition impacts approximately 6.5 million U.S. women, and approximately 200 million women worldwide.
- Around 40 percent of all women with infertility have endometriosis and, of women diagnosed with endometriosis, about 40 percent experience fertility challenges.
- It takes about 6 to 10 years from when women experience their first symptoms to receive an endometriosis diagnosis—half that time to recognize and bring up symptoms to a doctor and the other half for the doctor to diagnose it.
Raising awareness about endometriosis and increasing its timely diagnosis improves women’s lives. Careful listening and discussion are integral to early detection, as many common symptoms are sometimes not always obvious, such as chronic lower back pain and intestinal problems like diarrhea, constipation, bloating and nausea.
While symptoms may range in terms of severity, nearly all of them take a physical toll on a patient’s day-to-day life—from increasing tiredness to limiting her physical capabilities. As with all diseases and conditions, ACOG strongly advocates for an evidence-based approach to management of the chronic pain and other manifestations of endometriosis.
We also understand the pressing need for a non-invasive diagnostic test and improved treatments for those who suffer chronic pain related to endometriosis. ACOG calls for more research that supports a wider range of treatments. ACOG recognizes the invaluable role that patient advocates play in the public conversation about this debilitating disease. It’s time for ob-gyns to talk with patients more regularly about endometriosis, and ensure more women are getting the care and support they deserve.
- Hal C. Lawrence, M.D., ACOG Executive Vice President and CEO