Shall we talk about it?

Endormetriosis Awareness Month

endrometriosis

Image: Mattea Bertling

LARS INGE LEIRFLÅT
Stavanger, Norway

You, man. Yes, you know. Gender equality.

Yesterday, the woman in my life was on the operating table for the seventh time for endometriosis. SEVENTH! And it’s your fault.

Because you think that gender equality means comparing the salaries of a female teacher and a male teacher. Same salary for the same job. Have a cinnamon roll.

This was surgery No. 7. Endometriosis. Adenomyosis. One in 10 women have endometriosis. ONE in 10. Adenomyosis affects TWO in 10. If you have a daughter, sister, mother, or grandmother, the probability that one of them has it is quite high, and there is actually a 30% chance that a woman has one of these diseases if her mother or sister has it.

What does this really have to do with gender equality, man?

Well, there is too little research being done on endometriosis. If a girl who is going through puberty is experiencing menstrual pains, the doctor says, “Too bad; it’s completely normal. Take an aspirin or something. It will get better.”

No, because there are too few treatment options, and the patient may be pressured to undergo treatments that have no proven efficacy. The consequence may be that the patient actually gets worse.

It sure as hell won’t get better.

But fortunately, endometriosis varies from patient to patient. In some people, the disease is not as aggressive. Others have to go through surgery several times. Surgery must be performed by surgeons who have received specific training and experience in endometriosis or adenomyosis for the treatment to have a good result. Norway doesn’t have many of these surgeons.

Yesterday.

Remove the uterus.

Remove the cervix.

Remove an ovary.

Fallopian tubes have already been removed.

Gender equality?

No.

Systemic discrimination for several hundred years.

In research.

Yes.

Therefore, few have heard of endometriosis. There is little research on endometriosis and adenomyosis. Or other gynecological diseases.

And people wonder why women take more sick leave?

It’s shameful.

Gender equality is much more than equal pay. It is the whole system that needs equality. Not the salary you get paid. Forget the money.

Various players—private, patient groups, and the public health-care sector—have come up with proposals to establish a women’s health center or a center with expertise in such issues. Do you wonder why there isn’t one in Norway yet, but several in Sweden?

I don’t know the answer, but I am guessing you are part of the problem, man …

What do YOU do to support equal rights for your daughter, sister, wife, mother, or grandmother?

Answer that, and I will treat you to a cinnamon roll.

And chocolate milk.

Otherwise, I hope you have a good lunch.

This editorial was first published on Lars Inge Leirflåt’s LinkedIn profile and is reprinted with his permission. Translated by Ragnhild Hjeltnes.

To learn more about endometriosis, visit:

endometriosisassn.org 

(Endometriosis Association website, in English)

endometriose.no 

(Endometriose foreningen, på norsk)

This article originally appeared in the March 4, 2022, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

The Norwegian American

Published since May 17, 1889 PO Box 30863 Seattle WA 98113 Tel: (206) 784-4617 • Email: naw@na-weekly.com

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