Recognize Endometriosis as a Disability in the US
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Endometriosis affects 176 million women worldwide and 1 out of every 10 women in America. Endometriosis occurs when tissue similar to the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) attaches itself outside of the uterus and on other parts of the body including female reproductive organs, bladder, bowel, intestines, diaphragm and even the lungs. This can cause excruciating pain, swelling, scar tissue and adhesions because the tissue grows and bleeds in areas where it cannot easily exit the body. Exploratory laparoscopic surgery is needed to diagnose the disease and on average it takes about 7 years to receive the diagnosis. While there are some women who experience varying levels of pain exclusively during their menstrual cycle, there are millions of women, such as myself, who endure constant debilitating pain. Endometriosis drastically impacts every aspect of the lives of its sufferers. The pain is unbearable and too often does it leave us disabled. Many women with this disease are unable to function in normal daily life, bed ridden from the pain and unable to hold a job. According to a study published in Fertility and Sterility, endometriosis accounts for a loss of productivity of 11 hours per woman per week. Recognizing it as a disability would encourage employers to provide a safer work space and work accommodations for 10% of American women. This disease is considered an invisible illness because its sufferers appear completely healthy on the outside. Because of this, our cries for help are often dismissed by doctors, employers, coworkers and even friends or family. Our voices need to be heard. We would like to ask the United States to acknowledge endometriosis as an official disability. If you agree with us, please sign our petition. Together we can better the quality of life for 1 in every 10 American women.
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