£8.2 billion – that’s what Endometriosis costs the UK a year in treatment, loss of work and healthcare costs.

Some 1.5 million women and girls suffer from endometriosis in the UK – that’s the same as the number of women who suffer from diabetes but only 20% of the public have heard of endometriosis, compared to 80% for diabetes.

During Endometriosis Awareness Week 4-10 March 2013, Endometriosis UK want to raise awareness under the banner ‘Don’t Take It Lying Down’ and Sport Northern Ireland’s Staff Fund is supporting this campaign. A range of leaflets, factsheets, questionnaires and newsletters are available to all staff as well as two live online Q&A sessions on 6 March and 8th March where people can talk directly to a panel of experts about the medical aspects and tips for coping with the condition.

Jayne Moore, Chairperson of Sport Northern Ireland Staff Fund said: “Endometriosis is a gynaecological condition where tissue similar to the lining of the womb grows in other areas of the body. This tissue responds to hormones but has no outlet and can cause inflammation, scarring and adhesions, leading to severe pain, painful periods, painful sex and bowel problems, and the problems can go on for years without respite as it takes on average 7.5 years to get a diagnosis.

“My sister was diagnosed with the condition a year ago, after suffering the symptoms for years. It is a very debilitating condition that makes most days of every month difficult to get through. And since there is no cure for Endometriosis, women can only manage the condition through surgery, hormone drugs and pain management. The important thing about Awareness Week is that women who have these symptoms realise that what they are experiencing isn’t normal and that help and support is available.”

Sport Northern Ireland Staff Fund Treasurer, Andrea McKittrick added: “Endometriosis UK has provided copies of a Consultation Questionnaire that you can complete prior to a doctor’s appointment that will help you to focus on your symptoms and make the best use of the 10 minute consultation time you get with your GP. I will certainly be passing on the information to a number of my friends.”

To find out more, visit www.endometriosis-uk.org where you can see the wide range of support and information about the condition as well as the free helpline on 0808 8082227.