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News | March 18, 2023

Walter Reed experts shed light on endometriosis during National Endometriosis Awareness Month

By Aisha Lomax

WRNMMC, Bethesda, MD (March 18, 2023) –March is annually observed as National Endometriosis Awareness Month to draw attention to the condition affecting approximately 190 million women globally, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Numbers from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health (OWH), indicate that more than 11 percent of American women, or more than 6.5 million women, are affected by endometriosis, which occurs when tissue that lines the uterus grows outside the uterus. This can cause pain, heavy periods, and infertility. Pain from endometriosis occurs in the abdomen, lower back, and pelvis, shared Army Lt. Col. (Dr.) Saioa Torrealday, a reproductive endocrinology and infertility physician at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC).

Torrealday, and Army Capt. (Dr.) Ariel Dunn, also a physician at WRNMMC who specializes in obstetrics and gynecology, explained that on average in the United States, it takes more than seven years for a woman to be formally diagnosed with endometriosis, which can severely impact her quality of life. 

“If you have painful periods that prevent you from going to school or work, or pelvic pain that is affecting our quality of life, this is not normal,” Torrealday said. “This condition is treatable and if you have concerns that you may be affected by this condition, please seek care from a gynecologist,” she added.

Endometriosis can’t be prevented, according to OWH. However, women can reduce their chances of developing it by lowering the levels of the hormone estrogen in their bodies with regular exercise, avoiding large amounts of alcohol and caffeinated drinks, and talking to their doctors about hormonal birth control methods.

There is also no cure for endometriosis, but treatments are available for the symptoms and challenges it causes.

For more information regarding endometriosis, visit the government website of the National Library of Medicine at
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