Images by artist Kyung
Endometriosis -A Health Crisis, Awareness and Action With Art
The well being of American women is an issue close to my heart.
Did you know that 1 in 10 women world wide suffer from this incurable painful disease?
As a feminist, art historian and activist I want the world to know more about this health crisis and to encourage women to speak up for themselves, seek out expertise, and be part of the decision process for treatment and symptom management.
As Endometriosis Awareness Month is nearing its end, I wanted to include the work of an artist who I have admired for some time, whose depiction of the most intimate suffering is not only profound, raw and deeply touching, it has a delicacy that evokes the secret life of women.
That women suffer alone for so long and see on average 5 or more doctors before a diagnosis is symptomatic of problems in the way medicine sees women’s health, and as well socially inscribed shame about feminine health, reproduction and menstruation.
More About Endometriosis
- Endometriosis is a disease of the female reproductive system
- Endometriosis affects women during childbearing age (from her first period until menopause)
- Endometriosis affects 1 in 10 women worldwide
- Symptoms typically begin during puberty
- There is an average of a 10-year delay in diagnosing endometriosis
- Endometriosis is one of the leading causes of infertility
- Myth: Pregnancy Cures Endometriosis
- Myth: Only Women Over 20 experience Endometriosis.
- Myth: A Hysterectomy will cure Endo. It will not, women still experience pain.
- Myth: It’s in your head. This is a sexist attitude that needs to be confronted. Painful periods are not a normal part of womanhood.
1 in 10 women worldwide is a health crisis. Endometriosis is a disease that has no cure, and causes great suffering to women, often disabling them, causing great pain, anatomical distortion because of scarring, repeat surgeries, experimental at best treatments including off label use of drugs that often cause more problems for the patient than solutions, and even very young women are offered hysterectomies which often do not solve the problem entirely as the pain continues.
Another crisis is the issue of suicide. I know no one likes to talk about it, but we know that there are a number of very young women who have taken their own lives as a way to end their suffering.
Many women who experience pain monthly that is worse than childbirth or comparable to some forms of cancer and they are denied pain medication. Some women experience pain daily. Imagine living like this?
Social Media has raised our awareness of this disease, of suffering, and sadly these suicides. This should just push us further to confront the problems of treating women’s health, the shaming, marginalization, and also very real issues of authority and power when it comes to making choices about treatment. How can it take 10 years on average for this disease to be diagnosed?
Kyung’s remakable and poignant series below was inspired by Carolee Schneemann’s Interior Scroll.
(The Endometriosis Foundation of America)
Please note that all copyright for the images belong to the artist Kyung.