Endometriosis is a condition where the lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterus. It is common in women in their 30s and 40s and affects approximately 10 percent of women worldwide, which is similar to the rate of diabetes in the United States.
Symptoms of endometriosis include painful menstrual cramps, pain in the lower back and pelvis, pain during or after sex, intestinal pain, painful bowel movements or pain when urinating during menstrual periods, bleeding or spotting between menstrual periods, and digestive problems (i.e., diarrhea, constipation, bloating, or nausea). Infertility is also common; research found that of 71 percent of women with endometriosis who attempted to conceive, 90 percent experienced difficulties.
Endometriosis impacts women both at home and work. A 2017 study found women with endometriosis had a weekly loss of an average of 5.3 hours because of employment presenteeism, 1.1 hours of employment absenteeism, 2.3 hours of household presenteeism, and 2.5 hours of household absenteeism. Hourly losses in employment and household chore productivity were significantly greater with increasing symptom severity (mild vs. severe: 1.9 vs. 15.8 total employment hours lost and 2.5 vs. 10.1 total household hours lost). Women who experienced 3 endometriosis symptoms concurrently lost a significantly greater number of employment hours because of absenteeism and presenteeism compared with those experiencing 1 or 2 symptoms (P < 0.001).
Our guest, Tawnia Jacobson, is a health care professional who publicly shares her personal experience with endometriosis.