Published by Women’s Agenda

Seeing specialist after specialist, Lucia Osborne Crowley learnt the art of insisting her pain was real and that it mattered, before she finally found a doctor who believed her.

She’s since had five laparoscopic surgeries to remove endometriosis. Below, she asks why this disease – affecting one in ten women – has remained hidden for so long.

Last month, Health Minister Greg Hunt announced that the federal government would create a national action plan to improve the treatment of endometriosis, a chronic inflammatory disease that affects at least one in ten Australian women.

The national action plan promises to improve awareness and understanding of the disease, as well as make an immediate contribution of $160,000 for research into better treatments for the condition. Alongside this plan, Hunt issued an apology to the 600,000 women who live with this disease in Australia and who have largely suffered in silence until now.

This apology was much-needed and long overdue: the disease is estimated to have both the same prevalence and impact on quality of life as diabetes, but receives less than 5% of the funding. Misunderstanding of the condition is widespread, among the medical profession as well as the public.