How Endometriosis Affects Black Women

October 12, 2020

Photo source: Eye for Ebony

Endometriosis is a disease that affects an estimated 1 in 10 women around the world. The average time to diagnosis is roughly a decade, leaving millions of women to deal with years of debilitating pain, untreated illness, and struggles with infertility. But for women of color, particularly Black women, this disease often carries additional burdens.

3 Reasons Black Women Aren’t Diagnosed with Endometriosis

Racial inequities in healthcare are not new, and for previously hard-to-diagnose diseases like endometriosis, these inequities are only amplified. Three factors make it particularly difficult for Black women to be diagnosed and treated for endometriosis:

Implicit bias
Excluding Black women from research
Lack of access to testing and treatment

Taken together, these factors harm Black women’s health and can dramatically curtail the quality of their lives. These factors also explain why Black women are less likely to be diagnosed with endometriosis than are white women, meaning many who are struggling with the disease are left untreated.

Ways to Take Action

The status quo is unacceptable. Here are just a few ways the medical community can work to improve health outcomes for Black women, particularly those struggling with endometriosis:

Acknowledge and address implicit bias in medicine.
Include Black women in endometriosis research.
Improve access to testing.

The past does not need to define the future. It’s time to strive for equality in medicine so all women can access the care they deserve.

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