photo: Amanda Darehed/Sveriges Radio
Emelia Johansen is one of the 200,000 affected by endometriosis. Photo: Amanda Darehed/Sveriges Radio

Board to raise awareness of painful disorder

"I lie in bed. Vomit. Take my heaviest drugs and lie and cry. Nothing works"
1:16 min

Swedish doctors and patients have been asking for better healthcare for women suffering from endometriosis, a disorder which causes severe pain during menstruation and sex. Now the government has responded by allocating SEK 6 million to The National Board of Health and Welfare for drawing up guidelines for treatment of the disease.

Endometriosis occurs when the tissue that lines the uterus, and which it typically expelled during menstruation, begins to grow outside of it. During the menstrual cycle this tissue thickens, breaks down and bleeds. But with the disorder the tissue does not exit the body and can form cysts, cause irritation and eventually lead to the development of scar tissue and adhesions.

Swedish Television news reported that one in ten women of childbearing age suffer from the disease, which is hereditary. Developing guidelines and spreading awareness of the disease is also seen as part of an effort to make healthcare more equitable for women. Newswire TT reported that it takes an average of seven to nine years before patients receive a correct diagnosis.

Emelia Johansen from Umeå spoke with Swedish Radio's local reporter about the extreme pain that the disorder causes her.

"I lie in bed. Vomit. Take my heaviest drugs and lie and cry. Nothing works," she says.

Emelia described for the reporter a number of presciption pills she takes including an anti-inflammatory, medicine for nerve pain, and a type of morphine and oxycodone for the worst of it.

"I have the same life. I play football, I spend time with friends. But now it feels like I've changed. I don't have the energy for as much. I feel like I can barely go to school. I try to study at home but it's tough. I mean, there's so much pain you can't even think. You're completely groggy," said Johansen.

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