A registered nurse, Battaglino divides her time between caring for patients and creating programs through HealthyWomen that educate, inform and empower women to make smart health choices for themselves and their families.
Here, Battaglino discusses what the survey results mean for women and health care providers (HCPs), and how the results can help improve our understanding of the condition.
Q: Based on the survey results, it seems that women have heard of endometriosis, but do not have a full understanding of its symptoms. Why?
A: Yes, our survey reflects that exact statement – 81 percent of the 1,123 women who responded had heard of endometriosis4 – but the disconnect is most women may not immediately think ‘I have endometriosis’ because they are not aware of the symptoms. Women may think, ‘this is part of my monthly period’ or ‘I just have severe cramping.’ Therefore, they don’t have a conversation regarding their discomfort during their visit with their HCP.
Q: What are some of the barriers to getting an endometriosis diagnosis?
A: Not understanding that symptoms like painful cramps, pain during urination or bowel movements, pain during sex and heavy bleeding could be something more, or being embarrassed to have a conversation with their HCP. We want to encourage conversation with health care providers, so when women have an annual visit with an OB/GYN, they ask ‘Is this normal?’ And if it is endometriosis, to discuss a treatment plan that is right for her.
Q: How does awareness/understanding compare to other diseases women experience?
A: The interesting thing about endometriosis is that women seem to have heard the word – but do not fully understand the signs and are not talking about their symptoms with their HCP. Women can go up to 10 years without with a proper diagnosis of endometriosis. With other diseases like HPV, you have diagnostic tests and guidelines based on age of when they need to be done. That doesn’t exist for endometriosis.