Severe period pain is often dismissed in teens. Many have endometriosis.
– By Lindsey BeverThe Washington Post.

“It’s an invisible disease. The employer doesn’t know. The friend doesn’t know. The family member doesn’t know, and they wouldn’t understand,” said Iris Kerin Orbuch, who appeared in a documentary about endometriosis called ‘Below the Belt’.

A lack of awareness, education and research about endometriosis among adolescents often results in delayed diagnosis and has made it difficult to know how common endometriosis is in teens.

‘We shouldn’t be normalizing pain,’ said Jessica Shim, a pediatric and adolescent gynecologist specializing in endometriosis at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Compounding the problem is that most pediatricians do not have experience assessing endometriosis, and adult gynecologists may not have experience treating the disease in younger adolescents, who often present differently than adults. Parents also may be reluctant to take younger adolescents to a gynecologist, and teens may be nervous to have a gynecological exam.

‘Kids fall into the gap, which is crazy, because they’re the ones who most need the help,’ said Mary Lou Ballweg, president and executive director of the Endometriosis Association, a research and advocacy group.

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