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Endometriosis: A Hidden Health Issue

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by Jacquelyn Andrade and Melody Medina

Going to the doctor may seem dreadful and somewhat mentally exhausting.

Like many other immigrant communities,  Latinx communities bypass the yearly doctor checkup, whether it is due to superstitious beliefs, the inability to pay for the medical costs, or simply because the lack of communication that establishes the importance of a regular doctor’s visit. Many times, the Latinx community rely on religious beliefs and traditional home remedies to help aid in the “healing process,” but what happens when there is a complication that requires critical medical attention that isn’t well known by physicians? Endometriosis is one of the main concerns that women all around the U.S. today struggle to understand.

Even if a Latina, or any woman for that matter, decides to go to the doctor’s for endometriosis, there is no cure, it is relatively unstudied, and the treatments are expensive.  We had the opportunity to interview a Latina with endometriosis, who gave us an insight on what it is like to live daily with endometriosis.

Interview

 

Endometriosis is the disorder where the tissue that regularly lines the inside walls of the uterus grows outside of the uterus, even attaching onto outside organs. The tissue located on the outside walls still functions as it normally would – shedding and performing menstruation, which leads to internal bleeding. With no place for the blood to exit the body, it pools inside the body, creating extremely painful cysts. Even with the extremely high rate of women who experience this disorder – one out of every ten women, there are very few options for those dealing with this disease. As explained by Christie, upon arrival to the doctors, she had already researched her possible illness due to the initial uncertain diagnoses given by the doctor who initially thought it was simply cramps caused by menstruation. Once discussing with the doctor she believed she had endometriosis, the doctor looked into the possibility. Not only is the diagnoses hard to come by but the treatments are even harder to obtain due to its  high costs. The only real “treatment” for endometriosis is the cauterization of the tissue growing outside of the uterus lining which costs on average $2,000-$5,000 dollars per treatment. And this is not to say that the tissue will never grow back, in many cases it does, leading to multiple laparoscopies, which can cost thousands of dollars over a lifetime.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the Latinx population had the lowest rate of any health coverage and also the lowest rate of private insurance at about 56%. One reason is the lack of documents, but the larger issue is not having employer sponsored healthcare. If they do have employer sponsored health insurance, employees can pay twice as much if they want to include a family members into the insurances.

Having Endometriosis means patients have to pay ten times as much if you don’t have any insurance. This means someone who is going through this would have to be referred by a regular physician to a specialist, several required testing’s to make sure it is actually endometriosis, and end up only to be prescribed over the counter medications that have no effect in helping painful menstrual cycles.

Even though most of the Latinx communities bypass the yearly doctor’s visit, it is not right for those communities to keep on continuing this path. Sure, some traditional home remedies may work from time to time but the fact of the matter is that it will not always work. We need to try and visit the doctor to insure that all is covered. There could possibly be a bigger health issue than what one might think where only a certified physician can possibly know. Especially when it comes down to Endometriosis most physicians ignore the agonizing pain that patients go through so it’s even twice as important to go and get yourself checked out. Only you know what is going on with your body, do not undermine the pain that your body is trying to tell you.

The El Popo Newspaper was first published in 1970 by students concerned about the lack of a Chicana and Chicano perspective in newspapers. As a result, students called the newspaper, El Popo. The paper was named El Popo after the volcano El Popocatepetl. Involved in Chicana/o Movement of the 60’s and 70’s, students saw a connection between the smoke spewing volcano ready to erupt and the student movement ready to engage. Thus, throughout the El Popo’s forty-six years, the name continues to symbolize and to represent the spirit of each generation of students that contribute to the pages of the El Popo Newspaper. Faculty Advisor/Publisher Carlos R. Guerrero, Ph.D.