General

A step in the right direction

The Federal Budget has allocated $58 million in funding for endometriosis support and healthcare.

The funding aims to improve diagnosis and care for people with the chronic illness.

Endometriosis is a condition where cells similar to the lining of the uterus, grow outside the uterus, often in the pelvic region.

Diagram of endometriosis. Supplied: Jean Hailes.

About $2 million has been pledged toward increasing awareness for endometriosis to promote early detection.

A spokesperson from Endometriosis Western Australia says steps like this in early management are very beneficial for patients.

“First and foremost I think with a diagnosis there is clarity about what is happening in your body. A recognition that your pain and discomfort has a cause,” the spokesperson says.

“This can lead to reduced rates of the depression and anxiety that is often seen in people with unknown chronic illnesses.”

Endometriosis affects one in nine people across Australia.

One in nine people are affected with endometriosis. Graphic: Tylah Tully.

In a 2019 report by EndoActive, the total economic impact of endometriosis in Australia was $7.4 billion. This sum included reduction in quality of life costs and loss in productivity for people with the condition.

Perth woman Elizabeth Momber, 30, was diagnosed with endometriosis at the age of 21.

Liz in hospital gown after surgery. Photo supplied: Liz Momber.

She says endometriosis has had a major impact in her life resulting in two major surgeries, and the loss of half her bladder.

“I try to keep positive about it but with lack of a better word it’s been pretty shit,” she says.

“I’ve had relationships suffer because of my [endometriosis]. My mental and physical health. Sometimes it can feel all-consuming especially when you are in a lot of pain.”

She says the healthcare associated with endometriosis patient is not cheap.

“Medicare covers a percentage of the consults with your GP and some specialist and surgeries. But the year I had my surgery, I tallied it up and I was out of pocket $10 000.”

According to Endometriosis WA, the funding will help improve day-to-day management of symptoms for people in Western Australia but access to publicly funded help is an ongoing issue.

“In Western Australia like in other states, access to public gynaecologists specialised in endometriosis and advanced laparoscopic surgery is limited by long waitlists,” the spokesperson says.

Ms Momber says the funding is good for endometriosis awareness to help those people struggling with their diagnosis.

“It creates a space where people aren’t so in the dark about it. It normalises it. It’s not uncommon and often people feel very alone with their endometriosis.

“It’s a good step in the right direction and only hopefully the start of more to come,” she says.

Elizabeth Momber provides some advice to people struggling with endometriosis.

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