Dismissed, ignored and belittled: Congleton politician attends Westminster Endometriosis meeting

By Evie Payne

27th Mar 2024 | Local News

Cllr Wesley reflects on the challenge of Endometriosis. Image credit: Cllr Wesley.
Cllr Wesley reflects on the challenge of Endometriosis. Image credit: Cllr Wesley.

Congleton-based Women's Equality Party's national Deputy Leader, Kay Wesley, attended a meeting in Westminster recently to mark Endometriosis Action Month 2024. 

The delegates heard that women have symptoms for 8 years 10 months on average before they get diagnosed with endometriosis in England, with 74% of patients having attended 5 or more GP appointments prior to diagnosis and 52% attending A&E departments at least once.

These figures were from an Endometriosis UK research report entitled 'Dismissed, ignored and belittled - The long road to endometriosis diagnosis in the UK' presented at the event, which was opened by Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP of the Women's Health All-Party Parliamentary Group. 

Endometriosis is a painful condition experienced by 1 in 10 women but little understood by the general public or even by some healthcare professionals. Seventy-eight per cent of those who took part in the research had been told by health professionals at least once before diagnosis that they were 'making a fuss about nothing'. 

Kay Wesley, also a Town Councillor in Congleton, reflected "endometriosis is a common condition with effective treatments, yet girls and women are left to suffer due to a lack of awareness and under-investment over many years. As a young woman with endometriosis, I too was fobbed-off by my GP, and it was only when I moved to Congleton and got a new doctor that I finally got a diagnosis and treatment." 

The stated goal of Endometriosis UK is to get diagnosis time to under one year, and part of this depends on girls, women and everyone else knowing 'what is normal' relating to periods and the menstrual cycle. 

Endometriosis UK partnered with Menstrual Cycle Support to survey teenage girls and found that 6 in 10 don't know when to seek medical help for problem periods, 45 per cent received no information or support from school on menstrual health, and three-quarters said their menstrual cycle had a negative impact on their mental health. At the Westminster event, a new online training for teenagers was launched by the Menstrual Cycle Support charity. This training explains everything that young women need to know about a normal menstrual cycle, and will help them to identify abnormal symptoms that may be due to endometriosis or other conditions. 

Dame Lesley Regan, the Women's Health Ambassador for England, spoke at the meeting, saying "The Teen Menstrual Literacy Survey reveals a significant lack of knowledge about menstrual health, which is worrying since this must impact negatively on girls being able to get on with their lives. Poor menstrual health is preventable and this new approach is a crucial step towards empowering girls and young women with the information they need to advocate for their own health and wellbeing." 

Cllr Wesley observed "According to Imperial College, recent statistics suggest that only 2% of medical research funding is spent on female reproductive health. This is despite one in three women reporting a reproductive or gynaecological health problem. It is time the government prioritised women's reproductive health for research, education, public awareness campaigns, diagnosis and effective treatments." 

….ends Read the Endometriosis UK report at https://www.endometriosis-uk.org/endometriosis-action-month-2024


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