At the 2nd Middle East Endometriosis Forum, international experts along with Middle East doctors have highlighted appropriate medical attention for endometriosis and use of oral family planning methods to minimize health risks, as some of the key ways towards a better life for women.
• Endometriosis is affecting more than 100,000 women in the UAE and it is estimated that at least one in 10 women experience it during their reproductive years.1,2,3 In addition, between 30-50 percent of women with endometriosis experience some degree of infertility.4
• Research has shown that avoidance of unintended pregnancy is the most effective way of reducing maternal mortality ratio. Around 40% of the global deaths could be averted in 2008 by oral family planning tools.5
• Use of oral family planning methods by women has significant health benefits like protection against several cancers, less salpingistis, less benign breast changes, fewer functional ovarian cysts, less benign ovarian neoplasia, possibly fewer uterine fibroids and rheumatoid arthritis cases.6
Dubai, United Arab Emirates, April 2, 2015: The 2nd Middle East Endometriosis Forum organized by Bayer Healthcare brought together leading international and Middle East experts to discuss the critical issues affecting women in UAE, especially endometriosis and ensuing complications like infertility, chronic pelvic pain which affects a woman in the prime of her life, taking a toll on her work life and personal relationships. The forum also brought to the forefront the benefits of undertaking oral family planning methods by women with significant positive outcomes.
Endometriosis is a chronic disease, in which the tissue resembling the lining of a woman’s womb is found on organs like ovaries and other organs in the woman’s pelvis. Once implanted outside the womb, the endometrial tissue reacts to changing levels of hormones in a woman’s body during the course of her menstrual cycle, causing it to grow. This can cause inflammation and the formation of scar tissue, leading to pain.7 Risk factors for developing endometriosis include: endometriosis in the family, early onset of the menstrual period and heavy menstrual flow. Women who use oral family planning methods and women with low body weight (low body mass index) may be less likely to develop endometriosis.1
“We aim to educate women in the UAE on the symptoms of Endometriosis to allow them to seek the necessary medical attention to avoid its complications. We would also like to create awareness on the benefits of the use of oral family planning methods when taken under the supervision of specialists to alleviate some of the issues that women face and allow them to live a healthy, productive life”, said Dr. Naglaa Rizk, Consultant Gynecologist, Al Zahra Hospital Dubai, and Secretary of Emirates Endometriosis League.
“Some of the common symptoms of endometriosis include pain during menstruation, pre-menstruation as well as pain during sexual activity. We often notice that the diagnosis of the disease takes place when a woman faces trouble with pregnancy. Prolonging treatment has a negative effect on women’s health and her ability to conceive. We strongly advise women to recognize the symptoms and seek medical attention if they encounter chronic pelvic pain”, said Dr. Sony Singh, Vice-Chair of Gynecology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, at the Ottawa Hospital, Canada.
While highlighting the health benefits of oral family planning methods, the experts have advised women to consult their physician to identify the appropriate option which would be best beneficial for them. Medicines containing estrogen and progestin (also known as the combined pill), is often treated as one of the most reliable methods of preventing unintended pregnancies, bringing down the rate of maternal mortality ratio.
“We usually notice a general tendency to focus on the risk factors associated with oral pills, without a background knowledge and low awareness on the associated benefits. It is one of our constant efforts to not only educate women on the benefits according to their health needs but also raise their awareness on the long-term complications which can be avoided”, said Dr. Lee Shulman- Chief of the Division of Clinical Genetics at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois, USA.
The experts have highlighted the following benefits of oral family planning methods:
• Protection against several cancers: Endometrial(50–60% lower risk), Ovarian (40–80% lower risk), Colorectal (18–40% lower risk)8
• Less salpingistis, less benign breast changes, fewer functional ovarian cysts, less benign ovarian neoplasia, possibly fewer uterine fibroids and rheumatoid arthritis cases.6
• Non-family planning benefits include management of acne, androgen-dependent diseases, symptoms of PMDD(Premenstrual dysphoric disorder), heavy menstrual bleeding, pain of endometriosis
• Efficacy is estimated at 99.7% with perfect use and 92% with typical use