Menstrual health update needed for Ontario's curriculum
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With the change in our provincial leadership, recent changes to our sexual education has come under review. The original idea of returning to the 1998 curriculum has not been well received; so we find ourselves with a unique opportunity to voice things that need to be changed. We need to start teaching girls about menstrual health and reproductive disorders such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis.
Endometriosis effects approximately one in ten women and girls of reproductive age. The statistics on PCOS are less clear, but it seems to effect between one in eight and one in five women. Despite the prevalence of these disorders, there is nothing mentioned about them in the 1998 sex ed curriculum and they were not addressed in the revised curriculum instituted by the Wynn Liberal government. Because the current Ontario government has repealed the Wynn curriculum and is writing an updated curriculum, this is the perfect oppertunity to address this oversight.
Endometriosis and PCOS often begin in the teenage years as girls begin to menstruate, but girls are told that their symptoms are normal, imagined or just part of being a woman. The average delay in diagnosis is ten years after symptom onset. If girls, and boys, were taught what is and isn't normal during menstruation, it would empower girls, their parents, their friends to advocate for themselves and lead to quicker diagnosis leading to less impact on overall health and fertility.
I have been encouraged to see increased awareness of endometriosis in recent years, and to a lesser extent, of PCOS. I firmly believe, however, that the key to true awareness and improved treatment of these disorders is to educate the girls about the symptoms, impact and treatment of them.
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