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Awaiting moderation 62148 Article

Endometriosis: women then and now

        ENDOMETRIOSIS: WOMEN THEN AND NOW
Endometriosis is a complex disease, most often affecting women with complex lives. In the past ten years there has been a startling increase of reported cases among women who have postponed motherhood to pursue careers or simply to bring home needed additional income. Although this ailment is not restricted to women who put professional achievement first (endometriosis can strike teenagers as young as thirteen, women with children, even women who have had hysterectomies), cases are significantly on the rise among career women.
In simpler cultures where age-old, traditional women's roles are still abided by, women bear their first child at an earlier age. They then breast-feed their child, conceive a second child, and the cycle begins again. Over their life-spans, women who have borne children at a younger age, or who eventually have larger families, are found to be less frequent victims of endometriosis. Statistics from medical experts in underdeveloped areas tend to bear this out. Over the last twenty years, however, as personal achievement for women in developed countries has become more defined by professional gains than by creating and rearing a family, the incidence of endometriosis has increased.
A different vision of her place in the world is one way the contemporary woman is set apart from her more traditional counterpart. A second yet equally significant difference is the number of menstrual periods today's woman will experience. By bearing more children at an earlier age and by breast-feeding them between pregnancies, the traditional woman has about ten to fifteen times fewer menstrual periods than today's career woman. Such a woman, in other words, has about 55 periods during her lifetime as compared with a woman who does not bear a child and may thus menstruate 550 times until menopause.
Although endometriosis is directly linked to menstruation, its cessation by pregnancy is not a cure for the disease, as less-informed medical specialists once believed it was. Endometriosis is very insidious and may, ironically, spare women who would appear to be very likely candidates—childless career women— while it cripples others with less characteristic profiles.

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