Around one million Canadians have endometriosis, “a condition in which cells similar to the lining of the uterus, or endometrium, grow outside the uterus,” per the Alberta Women’s Health Foundation.
The condition can cause moderate to severe pain, heavy menstrual bleeding, chronic fatigue, and infertility. As a result, those with endometriosis can often have “a reduced quality of life with mental health issues and difficulties in personal relationships,” according to one study.
Endometriosis patients have also been found by researchers to suffer from “high levels of stress and detriments in mental health” that can affect their work, study and relationships. Treating endometriosis is a matter of improving symptoms and ensuring patients’ lives are not burdened, rather than curing disease outright.
In Canada, however, endometriosis patients face an average diagnostic time of 5.4 years, including “a 3-year delay from onset of symptoms to physician consultation and a 2-year delay between physician consultation and diagnosis.” The delay has been attributed to a lack of awareness about the condition.
Thankfully, this delay has decreased on average in the last few years. One study on endometriosis in Canada attributes this downward trend to “improved public and physician disease awareness.” Another study associated this with “an increasing awareness of endometriosis in the medical field and the society.”
Education is key to eliminating the gap entirely. Both providers and patients “may be helped by better diagnostic guidelines and a greater awareness of the complexity of endometriosis symptoms.”
WHCC-affiliated researchers are working toward this goal by conducting pioneering research and raising public awareness about endometriosis. These are just three of the amazing researchers working on this important issue in Canada.
Dr. Pieter Kruger is an obstetrician/gynecologist at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, an assistant clinical professor at the University of Alberta, and a member of WCHRI. He is an expert in the management of complex urinary, bladder and pelvic floor disorders as well as endoscopic management of benign gynecologic conditions like uterine fibroids, endometriosis and other advanced laparoscopic procedures. Dr. Kruger’s practice focuses on General Obstetrics, and minimally invasive gynecological surgery in the field of general and urogynecology.
Dr. Paul Yong is a gynaecologist with fellowship training in Endometriosis, Pelvic Pain and Advanced Laparoscopy, and Associate Professor in the UBC Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Dr. Yong holds a Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain, is the Research Director at the BC Women’s Centre for Pelvic Pain and Endometriosis, and is the Assistant Director of the Women’s Health Research Institute. As Principal Investigator of the UBC Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain Laboratory, Dr. Yong leads a research program that focuses on somatic (non-inherited) gene mutations in endometriosis, and changes in the peripheral and central nervous system in endometriosis pain.
For more information on pain management as it relates to conditions such as endometriosis, listen to Women’s College Hospital Foundation’s Mind the Health Gap podcast episode titled “Chronic Pain.” The episode features Dr. Tania Di Renna from Women’s College Hospital’s Toronto Academic Pain Management Institute (TAPMI), and Céleste Corkery, former manager of TAPMI, who discuss chronic pain and pain management.
Are you a researcher, trainee, policymaker, or healthcare provider who is interested in cutting-edge research driving healthcare advancements for women, trans, and non-binary individuals? Join a free, national, and virtual seminar hosted by Partnership for Women’s Health Research Canada (PWHR) on September 19, 2023. From bench to bedside, PWHR is committed to improving healthcare through equity and excellence.
📅 Date: September 19th
🕘 Time: 9am – 11am PT (10am-12pm MT, 11am-1pm CT, 12-2pm ET, 1-3pm AT, 1:30-3:30pm NT)
📍 Where: Zoom