Perhaps you noticed that your daughter has both a vagina and a uterus when she was born?
Oddly, this causes discomfort in some parents.
I admit to some discomfort in myself when I deal with rashes, itchy or irritation in the general area. As our daughters get older the issues surrounding their feminine organs and parts becomes more complicated. As far as parental discomfort regarding these reproductive issues - it's time to get over it.
Jeanne Connor Dessert has suffered from endometriosis since she was a young teenager. She currently runs a support group for women with endometriosis and she has some fantastic advice to parents of daughters.
I’m 39 years old and my endometriosis symptoms began at age 13. I was not properly diagnosed, however, until the age of 23.
I would like to make all parents of girls out there aware that endometriosis is a serious illness and that symptoms should not be overlooked, marginalized, or viewed as “in a girl’s head”.
Endometriosis is a very real illness that affects an estimated 80 million patients worldwide. Society has taught women and girls that menstrual pain is “normal”. It is not. Endo has a wide variety of symptoms. Cramps are just one of a great many. click on Endometriosis Association “what is it?” for a complete list of symptoms.
The important point I’d like to make is that if you think there’s any chance your daughter is having endo symptoms… I urge you to take it seriously, have her seen by a highly skilled gynecologist highly trained in recognizing and surgically removing endometriosis, and advocate for your daughter. This illness can cause pain (sometimes debilitatating and disabling), infertility, less commonly it can cause bowel obstruction. The list goes on. Endo patients are also at an increased risk for ovarian cancer, melanoma, and breast cancer.
If you have endo in your family (which some people do have family history without even knowing it due to societal “taboos” regarding talking about reproductive organs and menstruation), then your daughter has a higher risk of developing endo. I urge parents to learn the basics about endo. If your daughter has it, you want to be proactive, have her see a properly qualified gynecologist, and not ignore her symptoms. Empower your girls to obtain appropriate health care and not be cast aside by a health care system that isn’t doing all it should for endo patients.
Also, the research dollars for endo have historically been far too limited and I do not think this is an accident. Since this illness affects women and girls, the research dollars are just not as available for it as they would be for an illness affecting both genders.