Study highlights need to include Endometriosis under Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana

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A recent study has highlighted the need to improve early diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis to reduce its impact on women and their partners’ lives. Endometriosis is a painful gynaecological condition that affects 10 percent of girls and women between the reproductive ages of 15 to 49 years. Women living with endometriosis suffer from diverse and complex range of symptoms with severe and life-impacting pain.

The study has suggested that in Indian context, more research is needed to explore social significance of endometriosis as a chronic condition, and what can be done to improve service delivery and reduce negative impact of this condition on women’s lives.

Hormonal changes in the body during the monthly cycle cause the cells in the endometrial-like tissue to grow, and then breakdown and bleed into places where it cannot escape. While menstrual blood leaves the body during menstruation, this blood remains inside, leading to inflammation and formation of scar tissue. This scar tissue can form adhesions that can cause severe pelvic pain. Gynaecological morbidities such as endometriosis affect a substantial proportion of women but receive little attention globally.

Given the chronic nature of endometriosis and its potential impact on all aspect of women’s life and those around her, the condition is worthy of policy inquiry and further research. However, unlike many other chronic illnesses, governments globally as well as in India have paid little to no attention to endometriosis, while funding for research has remained woefully inadequate. The growing body of research on endometriosis has largely been from high-income countries (HICs) and very little is known about the reality of women living with the condition in India. To bridge this gap in research, a qualitative study was conducted to explore women’s experiences of endometriosis and its impact on them and their partners’ lives.

The research study was undertaken in the states of Delhi and Assam among women above the age of 18 years who were laparoscopically diagnosed with endometriosis. The study participants included both women and their partners. The data was collected between November 2021 and July 2022 using a semi-structured interview guide and analysed thematically

The findings show that there are similarities and differences on how the condition affects different life domains of women and their partners. The impact on women is significantly more than the impact on men. There is a need to further understand long term impact of endometriosis on women’s lives to inform policy.