What if Endometriosis Was a Men’s Health Issue?

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Jordan Davidson
As a health journalist and a co-founder of Endo Warriors, a support organization for women with endometriosis, I often get asked “what is endometriosis?”

Which is funny since it is estimated that 176 million women worldwide have endometriosis and yet no one knows about this global health issue.

Sometimes I say “it’s a secondary autoimmune disease where the lining of the uterus is found outside of the uterus and throughout the abdominal cavity — to varying degrees — causing chronic pain and infertility.

And other times I say “it sucks.”

Nancy Peterson of the ERC said “If 7 million men suffered unbearable pain with sex and exercise and were offered pregnancy, castration or hormones as treatment, Endo would be a national emergency to which we would transfer the defense budget to find a cure.” And, I don’t disagree.

If 7 million American men had unbearable pain every time they ejaculated, no one would ever suggest chopping off their balls. If they went to a health clinic that also offered pregnancy prevention services, we wouldn’t shut those clinics down. If 7 million American men were in pain every time they masturbated, urinated or tried to have sex we wouldn’t tell them “it’s all in their head” or “to take the pain like a man.”  No, we would listen and try to find them a cure that didn’t include castration or drug-induced de-masculinization.

But that’s not the case.

Instead we have 7 million American women with chronic pain related to the tissue in their uterus and their menstrual cycle. 7 million American women who have pain before, during and after their menstrual cycle. 7 million American women who experience pain while exercising, having sex and going to the bathroom. So we offer them chemical-menopause and hysterectomies and when those don’t work we throw our hands up in the air and say “well, at least I tried.” Better luck in your next life, perhaps you’ll come back as a man.

The menstrual cycle is the butt of all jokes directed towards women. Bad day? Is it your period? Is Auntie Flo in town?

Seeing red? Are you on the rag?

No, actually I’m just mad that the idea of healthcare for women makes people want to cover their ears and run screaming.

Free birth control for women?

Great idea!

That is until some political pundit insinuates women should just learn to shut their legs.

Maybe instead we should learn to listen to the myriad of women on birth control for issues beyond planning pregnancies. Maybe women should just get easy access to low cost birth-control without having to recite their medical record.

October is health literacy month and when it comes to health literacy, Americans are kindergartners trying to eat the paste off their fingers.

We think Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act are two different things; getting outraged at the notion of Obamacare yet think the idea of ‘affordable’ healthcare is quite nice.

Access to low-cost health care for everyone? Let’s shutdown the government!

Rather, if we want the government out of our private healthcare, then how about they get out of our uteri as well?

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4 Comments

  1. There are conditions men get at higher rates that cause all of that stuff and what is said we wouldn’t get told is exactly what we are told. Other is far less research research in it having had to have surgery over one of the problems we can get I take personal offense to the implications of sexual favoritism medically in this article when its the other way around. How many men even know what a urologist is let alone have a huge number of assisted financing to see one. I understand end sucks, I’ve had several gfs over the years with it and I felt horrible for them and did all I could to help but this article just pushed a nerve.

  2. 7 million women suffering inadequate care for endometriosis is a national crisis that NO ONE seems to recognize. We will highlight it in every way possible to make it more apparent. It is simply true that is 7 million men suffered in this way, it would be on the national agenda. For women it is simply “just her period”, and this kind of dismissal is demeaning, misogynist and inappropriate. It is the same with heart disease, women die at the same rate as men, yet today still some 30 years after highlight that fact, it is thought of as a mens disease. Womens heart health continues to be ignored, deaths and disability occurring due to this ignorance. So it is about them and us, because women are undervalued in so many ways.

    Endometriosis robs their sexuality, their productivity, their hopes, their dreams, and gets little or no real attention. Instead drug companies see them as a huge profit motive regardless of the fact DRUGS DO NOT TREAT endometriosis, instead inflict permanent damage

  3. Why on earth do people like you have to make every thing a them and us situation, I am sure there are many things that men have suffered from for years that are only just starting to be looked at and studied, as there are many things the women suffer from that have been studied for generations, get the chip off your shoulder we all live on the same planet and should be working together to find solutions to the things we all suffer from instead of making it a them and us issue….

  4. The Endometriosis Research Center has long advocated better care for women, and I am a late comer to their organization but a huge supporter of theirs. The executive Director Heather Guidone has given me a forum for my advocacy in so many ways, I am greatful for the opportunity to point out these issues and support their long standing advocacy. But I am only a small part of the ERC. Appreciate the authors showing light to these very important issues

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