Australia to combat endometriosis with school sex education

Australian states will be urged to teach school students about pelvic pain and menstruation in sexual education classes (The Guardian) as part of a new drive to combat endometriosis and aid early diagnosis of the disease.

Health Minister Greg Hunt will push states to commit to a national plan devised by the government and a coalition of endometriosis advocacy and research organizations after gaining support from all states and territories (The Australian) on April 13. In what it says is the first ever national plan to tackle the condition, the government will allocate $2.5 million to endometriosis research (ABC).

The green light for the plan to improve the understanding, awareness and treatment of endometriosis comes after the health minister apologized in December to the hundreds of thousands of Australian women who suffer from it.

At a news conference on April 13, Hunt said the disease was a “personal, passionate” cause.

Endometriosis is a chronic condition in which tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows in other parts of the body. It affects one in ten women of reproductive age globally (around 176 million women aged 15 to 49) and an estimated 700,000 women and teenagers in Australia. It is often debilitating and can lead to infertility, fatigue, and bowel and bladder problems. The main symptom is chronic pelvic pain, however diagnosis is often delayed due to the shared symptoms with other conditions (Endometriosis UK).

Stigma surrounding reproductive health problems has also hindered progress in the understanding the illness, Endometriosis Australia director Donna Ciccia told the Australian Associated Press (The Australian).

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