Endometriosis Support Group Nigeria is a Non-government organization which is set out to educate and create awareness on the women affected disease, Endometriosis. Founded almost two decades ago, the organization joins the world Endometriosis group every March and April to further emphasis on the need to create more awareness of Endometriosis.
The awareness walk started at 7 am on the Saturday 16th March 2019 from the Lagos City Mall Onikan through Awolowo Bello way and to the final destination which was Muri Okunlola Park along Ozumba Mbadiwe, Victoria Island Lagos. Women, ladies and teenagers from all walks of life gathered at the Lagos City Mall Onikan where they were given T-shirts in colour purple, yellow and black, Table water, pens and other souvenirs with the inscription; it is time to end the silence and that has made the Hashtag #burstendo trend so well.
Endometriosis which affects 1 out of 10 women of reproductive age is a condition in which tissue similar to (though not the same as the lining inside of the uterus – the endometrium) is found outside the uterus. With Endometriosis the endometrial tissues can implant on the fallopian tube, ovaries, or bladder in extremely rare cases, it has even been found the lungs or diaphragm. Over the course of the menstrual cycle, these implants can grow and bleed just like the uterine lining which is shed during menstruation each month. But the implanted endometrial tissue outside the uterus can trigger pain and inflammation, and over time it can use the formation of scar tissue called adhesions, which can cause organs to stick together this can lead to infertility. It is a condition that affects often regardless of age, race, religion or ethnicity.
The walk which involved sharing of fliers and handbills to educate people about Endometriosis came to an end at the Muri Okunola Park and the carnival Started. The Carnival involved the use of coloured wigs, Facial Masks, Paintings e.t.c. The ladies were grouped according to the colours of their t-shirt as they had a dance exercise.
Nigeria popular comedian Koffi was the anchor of the event cracked the audience with diverse jokes. The carnival became lively with the presence of Koffi tha guru, DJ Lexide and DJ Shogsy. Dr. Abayomi Ajayi the founder of Endometriosis Support Group Nigeria (ESGN), and the Medical Director of Nordica Fertility Centre spoke on the why several women experience excruciating pains during menstruation such that they are unable to do anything until the flow is over. Many women don’t know that they are suffering from endometriosis, he said. In fact, some medical doctors never think of endometriosis as the cause of the severe pains some women go through during menstruation. This is because the required attention and awareness the ailment needs have not been given to it and that is why the walk and carnival were initiated.
Dr Ajayi describes endometriosis as “the occurrence of misplaced endometrium (what a woman sheds every month as blood or menstruation) i.e. when it is present in any other place in the body apart from inside the shell where it is expected to be, it is referred to as endometriosis. The commonest place where this occurs is in the pelvis or the abdomen and the commonest places in the abdomen are on the ovaries, in the tube, on the intestine, et c. Abdominal pains are mostly linked with the menstrual period while it could be endometriosis and that is the reason why the month of March is regarded as endometriosis month worldwide. In the UK for example, it has taken them about ten years to a diagnosis of endometriosis from the point where the symptoms start to when a diagnosis is made. The second commonest symptom of endometriosis is abnormal bleeding which could occur at abnormal places, for example, bleeding from the navel. Other common symptoms are heavier flow, prolonged or irregular menstruation pains during or after sex, difficulty getting pregnant, bleeding between periods, pelvic pains, constant fatigue and bowel pain.
Some of them can just bleed from anywhere. Infertility is another common symptom of endometriosis. About 40-50% of women living with endometriosis are infertile because of the gumming together of organs. The ovaries and tubes will lose their normal relationship, the eggs released from the ovary cannot be picked up by the tubes, so they have infertility; couple with the fact that the things they also have in their abdomen will also kill sperms because they have some chemicals that are released from the blood so they have many reasons to be infertile. But the good news is that it’s not everybody that has severe cases of endometriosis. Some have mild cases but the funny thing is that the pain does not suggest whether you have mild or severe endometriosis until it is diagnosed.
In a bid to improve on the awareness of the women affected disease, the Endometriosis Support Group of Nigeria (ESGN) has taken its awareness campaign to secondary schools in Lagos state educate young girls on the ailment because not less than 176 million women are infected with endometriosis worldwide. Although it is not communicable endometriosis leads to a high level of infertility amongst affected and research has also revealed that females between the ages of 11 and 45 who have reached the menstrual age can be infected and there is a high rate amongst those between the ages of 25 and 45. Of course, if the patient is interested in raising a family, or has been trying but has fertility challenges, the issue of assisted reproductive techniques comes to play depending on how long the person has been waiting and the stage of the ailment. Endometriosis is a progressive disease and the longer it is, the more challenging it gets to conceive. But it is also a mind disease, one can still also conceive naturally depending on the stage and when one goes into treatment.
The face of ESGN Mistura Bello handed over to the new face of ESGN 2019 in the person of miss Popoola Oyedoyin and she was awarded a cash prize of 100,000. Some secondary schools were also awarded cash prizes for winning the secondary school Essay.
Kemi Adekomi, a versatile On-Air personality of high repute who works with Unilag f.m, spoke on her experience of Endometriosis and how she was able to give birth to beautiful children. She emphasized the need for women and young ladies to take health issues seriously and should go for testing once any symptom is observed.
Other celebrities present include Mrs Oluranti Ajayi, Mrs Yinka Ogunde, Moji Phillips Oyetayo, Bolatito Sowunmi, Okiki Marinho, Opewemi Jones, Anjola Cosmetics, Raliat Oyetunde, Bambo Fitness to mention but a few.