Endometriosis Awareness Month launches to raise importance of education in tackling diagnosis times

Tuesday, March 05, 2019
  • New education material for GPs launched with the Royal College of GPs to highlight signs, symptoms, and management of endometriosis
  • Schools Minister Nick Gibb to mark Awareness Month by celebrating the introduction of menstrual wellbeing into the new Relationship and Sex Education curriculum
  • Internationally-renowned portrait photographer to unveil new exhibition ‘Beyond the Invisible’

To mark the start of Endometriosis Awareness Month, which takes place throughout March, Endometriosis UK has today launched new education material with the Royal College of GPs to support GPs to identify endometriosis. This, coupled with changes to the school curriculum from 2020 to include menstrual wellbeing, is “another step in the right direction to tackling diagnosis times”, according to the leading support charity Endometriosis UK.

The new e-learning module for GPs launched today will cover the symptoms, signs and management of endometriosis, helping GPs support earlier diagnosis of the disease. Spotting the signs of endometriosis, from chronic pelvic pain and bowel problems to painful sex and infertility, early will help drive down diagnosis times which currently averages at 7.5 years, and in turn, giving those with the disease quicker access to treatment for the disease. Lengthy diagnosis times are leaving women unsupported and at risk of the untreated disease progressing.

The new education e-module is part of the RCGP’s Spotlight Project on Menstrual Wellbeing, developed in partnership with Endometriosis UK.

Emma Cox, CEO of Endometriosis UK said: “GPs play a pivotal role in supporting women with endometriosis. The symptoms of the disease – such as sever pelvic pain, painful sex, painful bowel movements - overlap with a range of other conditions and vary person to person depending on where the endometriosis is growing. It’s vital healthcare practitioners receive training and guidance to help them spot signs of endometriosis as well as other menstrual conditions, and support women to receiving a diagnosis. The earlier the diagnosis, the sooner those with the disease can access treatment. Without a diagnosis, not only can the disease progress, but women cannot put a name to their symptoms impacting on their education, employment, relationships and mental health.

“In addition to physical and sometimes disabling symptoms, endometriosis can impact on all areas of a woman’s life including relationships, work and education.  The symptoms for endometriosis – linked to periods, painful sex, bowel problems, infertility – are often considered taboo and embarrassing and the sufferer may not realise they are linked to one disease. 

“By working together with the Royal College of GPs to develop the Menstrual Wellbeing Toolkit and endometriosis training, we can help ensure that everyone affected by endometriosis is given the right care at the right time.

“This, coupled with recently announced changes to the school curriculum which will ensure boys and girls will be taught about menstrual wellbeing in primary and secondary education, will help overcome taboos and instil the confidence in people to seek help when something is not right.

“Education, amongst healthcare practitioners, those in education and the public, is the first step to helping drive down diagnosis time for endometriosis which currently averages at a shocking 7.5 years”.

Dr Anne Connolly, RCGP Clinical Champion for Menstrual Wellbeing added: “Women often put up with period problems for a long time before consulting their GP either because they think what they experience is normal or because they feel too embarrassed to discuss their concerns.  The work of the menstrual wellbeing spotlight project is to raise awareness of endometriosis, heavy menstrual bleeding, fibroids and other menstrual related problems and develop tools and learning to help busy GPs manage women in a more effective way.  We have been delighted to be working with Endometriosis UK on this project and hope that the Endometriosis eLearning module and the other resources found on the RCGP menstrual wellbeing toolkit continue to support women to experience the care they want and need.”

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month, and we are delighted to be partnering with Standard Life and internationally-acclaimed photographer Rankin to create an exhibition launching on 21st March as part of a push to raise awareness of this debilitating illness.

The new e-learning toolkit for GPs is available here