We Need to Talk About Endometriosis

A proposal for an in depth feature on Endometriosis and why we need further research

Woman suffering from Endo
Photo by Asdrubal Luna / Unsplash

Endometriosis is a disease or condition in which the tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside of the uterus. It is a condition that causes debilitating pain for the woman most commonly during her menstrual cycle but is not limited to that window.

Endometriosis affects 1 out of every 10 women. In Australia there are an estimated 700,000 women that suffer with the disease and as of yet there is no cure. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the Federal Health Minister, Greg Hunt, has announced a plan for national action for endometriosis research.

The federal government is set to initially invest $2.5 million for research initiatives identified in the National Action Plan that will be finalized by the end of June. The Federal Health Minister has said he would like to teach school children about pelvic pain and the disease and also general practitioners that see women in their offices before they can see a specialist.

Why is this important?

I am proposing a feature piece about the disease and I will argue why we need this research. Endometriosis largely gets misdiagnosed and can take a sufferer between 7 and 10 years to receive the proper diagnoses and to discuss treatment options.

If left undiagnosed, endometriosis can lead to really severe consequences and is the leading cause of infertility in women. I want to arm young women with all the information they need to understand what endometriosis is and what it is not and the risk factors for their future.

How are you going to accomplish this?

I have already done quite a bit of my own research for this article so I feel fairly equipped for the interviews I would like to procure for this piece. I would like to reach out to Endometriosis Australia (they produced the video above), a non-profit organization that provides information also strives to increase recognition for the disease.

Ideally, I would be able to set up at least one interview with one of the women ambassadors that lead the organization. I want to get an interview with someone who understands the endometriosis but may also suffer with it.

I would also like to reach out to the Sydney Women’s Clinic. Getting the professional perspective of a practicing OBGYN would be really beneficial to the article. A specialist may also have insight in what kinds of research would also be the most beneficial for the Health Minister’s proposal.

There is also a relatively young non-profit organization with ties to USYD called EndoActive. One of the founding members attended USYD and their conference documentary is available to students on Kanopy. They may also be a great resource for interviews and research.

Woman in bed hiding from Endo.
Photo by Alexandra Gorn / Unsplash

What will it look like?

In terms of multimedia, I plan to use images of women similar to those you would see for stories on the publications I have chosen (like the image above for example), but I would also like to create a short video. I want to include at least one interview on camera with a women who suffers with endometriosis, perhaps one from the resources above or even a classmate would make the impact. I want to use still images, info-graphics, and music in addition to the interviews in the final product.

I haven’t yet made a video like the one I am envisioning, but there are so many resources provided to us as students at the university so I can learn about the mediums I will need. There are also students in my class that are equipped with these capabilities that could also be a resource to me in my efforts.

Who will publish this?

I would like to see this piece published on The Monthly, Hello Giggles or Australian Women’s Health. These publications are likely to catch the readers I would like to see this article, and they all have interests in issues that directly effect their audience base.

Endometriosis as of yet, has no cure. But we can offer information, support and resources to sufferers and practitioners so we can come to the aid of the thousands of women in pain.

Shanti Smith
About Shanti Smith 4 Articles
Shanti is an international post graduate student at the University of Sydney. She holds a B.A. in Communication Studies from the University of Colorado and looks to pursue a career in media.

2 Comments

  1. Hey Shanti, great pitch! Awareness about Endometriosis is slowly rising and being featured by big publications so you’ve really nailed the timeliness of your piece. I love that you are looking to video – it’s a great medium for your topic as it allows emotive content to shine through. Maybe some visual infographics would be helpful if you’re planning on featuring a lot of statistics – as they’re an engaging and memorable way to get numerical information across. I would suggest reaching out on Twitter to women if they’re interested in talking to you – using hashtags like #endometriosisawareness and other buzzwords. And I think The Monthly and Hello Giggles would be great publications because they broad in the topics they cover – so you would reach a diverse audience and potentially inform unaware people. Looking forward to reading your final piece!

  2. Hi Shanti,
    You have chosen a very good topic and you have many good ideas to write on it. You are very right, endometriosis is used to being a “taboo” topic, at least in France, but it seems true in Australia too. There are few articles on it, and many women do not even know that they are suffering from this disease. I am a good witness because I suffered a lot from endometriosis and I have had surgery twice because of that.
    For many women, it is normal to bear pain during their period, and even if they lose too much blood, they remain silent. When i start having tough problem with that disease, i talked around me to other women and i realized that many were suffering from the same symptoms (not as severe as mine, because there are different stages and different locations) and considered that normal. And many people (women as men) thought it was related to cancer… Actually, we are always aware about cancer and there are preventive actions, but not for endometriosis.
    And you are right, there is a BIG Education to do for women, and not only the young ones, but even matured… because many are suffering a lot, ignoring what it is.
    The ideas of video interviews are of course great. I think it would be really interesting too if you could present practical information in a graphic and visual way: what are the symptoms, what to do, websites of information, may be forums, specialized medical centers and organizations…
    For the publication, i would have said as you Australian Women’s Health…but after that, I was thinking the topic would deserve a more general publication: why not for example a publication in the weekend publication of the SMH? In my opinion, it should not be known only by women.
    In France, the topic became popular when the partner (Julie Gayet) of our previous President (François Hollande) decided to support an organization dedicated to endometriosis. But it is true it was above all feminine press that covered the information.
    I hope these comments can help !

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