March Into Yellow: Endometriosis Awareness Month

Words by Maxim Buckley

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‘Endometriosis (Imponderable)’ courtesy of Ellie Kammer

Can you believe it’s almost March already? Just think, some of you received your ATARs in December of last year and only got your uni offers just over a month ago. Potentially you’ve just come back from holidays, or you may have worked over the uni break. This March marks my third (and hopefully final) attempt at liking a degree, so honestly don’t worry all you first years if you don’t like your degree, you’re well and truly not alone.

March means a lot of things for a lot of people. For people in Adelaide, especially hospitality workers, March marks the madness of the Adelaide Fringe Festival and WOMADelaide. People from all over Australia and the world will descend on Adelaide to listen, entertain and share ideas. March is also the month that Endometriosis Australia runs their ‘March Into Yellow’ fundraiser and events, with people being encouraged to wear yellow in some way throughout the month of March, either by making their entire outfit yellow or just simply wearing yellow socks.

Since first hearing about the disease early last year, I feel as though there has been a great push from the community to bring this horrible disease into the forefront of people’s minds. Since last year, conversations I’ve had with people have turned from ‘Oh, what’s that disease?’ into ‘Yeah, I’ve heard of that’. But for those of you who have never heard of the endometriosis, I’ll give you a quick rundown.

Endometriosis is a disease that 1 in 10 people with periods suffer from. Essentially, tissue that is typically found lining the inner most layer of the uterus grows elsewhere in the body. This can lead to many different health conditions, such as painful periods, difficulty conceiving or daily pain elsewhere in their body. All of these can affect how a person functions both mentally and physically. It is important to note that the disease affects everyone in a different way, your friend’s experience with endometriosis may be very different to my friend’s experience. It is also important to note that the current rating systems of the disease do not correlate with the pain experienced by the sufferer, meaning a person with stage 1 endometriosis could suffer more chronic pain than someone with stage 3 and vice versa. Diagnosis typically takes between 7 and 10 years and the only way to diagnose endometriosis is via an invasive surgical procedure called a laparoscopy. There is currently no cure.

So why is this such an important disease to raise awareness for and hopefully find a cure? Well, lets just assume that half the population are people with periods. That means 5% of the population has this chronic disease. Using those statistics, currently there could be 615,000 people in Australia living with endometriosis. According to Cancer Australia, 421,124 people were living with cancer in 2012. The simple fact is that endometriosis is a disease that effects far too many people for the amount of funding research it currently receives; 12 million dollars in the past 12 years to be exact.

So, this March, have fun at the Fringe Festival and WOMADelaide. See what Adelaide and the world has to offer to you, but don’t forget about that 10% of people. Wear a little yellow, donate some money to Endometriosis Australia or even hold an event to get your mates together and start a conversation.

Endometriosis is a disease like any other and can be treated, researchers just need your help.

For more information, please visit Endometriosis Australia

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Adelaide University student magazine since 1932. Edited by Nicholas Birchall, Felix Eldridge, Taylor Fernandez and Larisa Forgac. Email us at onditmag@gmail.com

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