Women's Health Week, an annual health event led by the national not-for-profit Jean Hailes for Women’s Health, is putting a spotlight on the “Pain Drain” today to increase awareness on the impact of pelvic pain on women's lives.
This focus on pain follows the release of findings of the 2023 National Women's Health Survey, conducted by Jean Hailes for Women’s Health on behalf of the Australian government, revealing one in two women (47%) in Australia over the age of 18 have experienced pelvic pain in the last five years
Dr. Sarah White, CEO of Jean Hailes for Women's Health, said the research showed “pain drain” is real.
“Almost half of these women had to miss work, study, or exercise because of pelvic pain, highlighting the severe disruptions it causes in daily routines.”
"That's an extraordinary statistic. We really need to encourage women to go and talk to their GPs and get the support and care they need to live full, healthy, happy lives."
Kirsty Baker, a 25-year-old woman who was diagnosed with endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome at the age of 22, shared her own experiences of pelvic pain, and how it forced her to change her own approach to her career as a hospital nurse.
“I actually opened my own business to try and relieve myself from hospital nursing, as I struggled with the debilitating pain during a shift usually. I've had to call in sick to many of my shifts. Being able to open my own business, I'm able to run on my own time. I can feel happy to call in sick because it's on my own time rather than anyone else's.”
Ms Baker also expressed her disappointment at the prevalence of these conditions and the delayed diagnoses many women face.
"I look forward to hopefully one day having normal conversations about this with women and being able to speak about it openly and share our stories together."
The survey findings also resonated with Dr Pav Nanayakkara, Jean Hailes Gynaecologist and Advanced Laparoscopic Surgeon and she emphasised the importance of normalising conversations around pelvic pain and not just the conditions themselves.
"Despite the alarming results from the study that one in two women are going through this, it's not surprising to me. I think it's really unfortunate that there are so many people that are suffering in silence when there are many treatment options and ways that we could investigate the pain further.
“Part of this is normalising the conversation, not the condition," said Dr Nanayakkara.
The research highlights the urgent need to address pelvic pain and provide better support and treatment options for affected women. Jean Hailes Women’s Health Week continues to serve as a platform for discussing crucial women's health issues and encouraging women to seek the care they need.
For more information on Women's Health Week please visit https://www.jeanhailes.org.au/womens-health-week
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About Women's Health Week
Women's Health Week is an annual event led by Jean Hailes for Women’s Health; a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the knowledge of women's health throughout the various stages of life.
The week-long event is designed to raise awareness of important women's health topics, encourage health checks, and provide educational resources for women across Australia.
Women's Health Week aims to empower women to take control of their health and well-being through informed choices and active participation in their healthcare journey