Politicians in Ireland have heard that endometriosis is a condition that is not well understood in the country
A hearing this week was told that the Irish health service does not have the required understanding of the condition and the population does not have the necessary awareness of it too.
For this and other reasons, services are limited.
There have been calls for funding in the forthcoming Budget for research, awareness and assessment of medical needs.
The Endometriosis Association of Ireland told an Oireachtas Health Committee hearing this week that endometriosis is a chronic, progressive, inflammatory disease.
It can manifest in many different ways, has been found on every organ of the body and its effects are far reaching within society.
The association said there has been some momentum towards improving services with the Coombe Hospital announcing its Enhanced Endometriosis Clinic, and the HSE funding an endometriosis clinic in Tallaght with plans for one in Cork, through the Women’s Health Action Plan.
But it said there are still many issues; long wait times for diagnosis and treatment persist.
Factors contributing to this are the lack of skilled surgeons, with only a small number trained in excision surgery, and insufficient dedicated theatre time for endometriosis patients.
For anyone in severe pain, even a month is too long to wait.
The Association said that women have to travel abroad to get the treatment they need.
The treatment is available under the EU Cross Border Healthcare Directive and healthcareabroad.ie has access to specific services in Romania which Irish women are using.
It is still estimated that it takes on average 9 years to get a diagnosis in Ireland.
One in 10 women is thought to be affected, and given the disease affects women from age 8 to 80, unfortunately the number of women affected is likely to be underestimated and will continue to grow.