The Facts on Endometriosis
Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue similar to the lining inside the uterus is found outside the uterus, where it induces a chronic inflammatory reaction that may result in scar tissue.
The symptoms of endometriosis include painful periods, painful ovulation, pain during or after sexual intercourse, heavy bleeding, chronic pelvic pain, fatigue, and infertility, and can impact on general physical, mental, and social well being.
Endometriosis affects an estimated 1 in 10 women during their reproductive years (ie. usually between the ages of 15 to 49), which is approximately 176 million women in the world.
When it’s Personal
Sara Beaudoin was diagnosed with endometriosis in 2007 and was recommended laparoscopic ablation surgery to relieve the worst of the symptoms. However, like many other women in her situation, she was soon to hear that the symptoms could come back later on – and a year after her surgery, she was hit with more excruciating pain than ever before.
As recommended by her doctor, she suppressed her symptoms with birth control.
This led Sara to seek out everything she could find on the condition, from books to other online resources. Some of the books – including one called “The Doctor Will See You Now” – gave her hope and a very unique idea.
Making an Impact
She knew that she was going to need surgery now, and also knew that she wasn’t the only woman who felt this way.
“I flew down to see a specialist in New York, the only one who knew enough about it, but my health insurance denied to cover the costs of the surgery. Switching to a more expensive insurance plan that didn’t help either: I was still being denied. I couldn’t be the only one that doesn’t have $15, 000 cash to pay in advance to the surgeon just to hope that health insurance will reimburse me after I’ve already been denied.” says Sara.
It got her thinking: “What can I do to raise money for this surgery?”
She realized that people have gym clothes, sleepwear, swimsuits and lingerie, but there’s nothing to wear for practical, actual comfort during menstrual cycle. While there was general menstrual underwear available, nothing came close to putting comfort first.
“So why not make period clothes?”
The Birth of Dot Period Clothes
What are period clothes?
“Period clothes aren’t just for people with endometriosis,” Sara notes. “They’re for everyone who needs to feel more comfortable in their own skin while their body is going through physical change”
Dot Period Clothes, which is officially a line of clothing for women undergoing endometriosis or similar conditions, launched on Sunday the 16th of February on Etsy.
“I believe it’s the stigma around periods that’s caused endometriosis to take 10 years to diagnose properly.” she says. “We’re told that period pain is normal, painful sex is normal and don’t talk about your period – so we end up being embarrassed about it.”
Sara believes that if period clothes can become a standard category of clothing, it can help change the stigmatization attached to menstruating from the moment it begins.
“What’s going on in the world with the menstrual movement is so important: Ending period poverty and shame while being able to promote period awareness.”
Simply, this is what she hopes to achieve with Dot Period Clothes.
“If more people wear them, it becomes easier to talk about period-related problems – and it could save many women what could have been 10 to 30 years of undiagnosed reproductive issues and give them back their quality of life.”
The Reaction so Far
“The reaction has been positive, supportive and just overall incredible.” she says, beaming. “I have had many women reach out to me tell me that they think it’s amazing – or that they are in the very same situation, needing $15, 000 for their excision surgeries that their health insurance won’t cover.”
Sara hopes for the further expansion of her business as soon as her feet have properly hit the ground. “The future dream for Dot Period Clothes is becoming a registered non-profit organization as soon as possible.” This way, it creates an opportunity for proceeds to be used directly to fund surgeries for women all over the world who are in desperate need and without the necessary funds to do it.
Sara also hopes to offer men’s styles through Dot Period Clothes. “Sure, men might not menstruate in the same way women do – but they do go through physical and hormonal changes too, often around the same time of the month as their significant other, and men play an essential role in the future of stigmatizing periods.”
“I have faith that people will support the further sales (and current pre-sales). Of course, people buy because they want to buy the clothing, they’re also ordering to support something that goes far beyond the clothes.”
If you are looking to find out more about the symptoms of endometriosis, visit www.endometriosis.org.