Apr 2021

Debunking The Standard

  • By: Samantha Denäe

Health equity, racial bias are two subjects frequently discussed within the Endometriosis community. For a lot of Black women and women of color who are struggling, it could take longer than average to receive a diagnosis for Endometriosis. Outside of the disease being complicated to diagnose itself, race and environment plays a huge role. While Asian women are likely to  be diagnosed sooner, Black women are less likely to be diagnosed with Endometriosis than Caucasian women. The stigma that Endometriosis only finds its way to those who are successful and high achieving, is extremely deadly, and although the mystery’s and myths of Endo are continuously being shattered, they still exist and can cause a late diagnosis. 

Aside from healthy equity and racial bias, we also have to realize that bodies are different. Although Endo may present itself one way in a white woman, it may not be the same for a woman of color or a Black woman. Some of the times, our experiences are totally different. I believe doctors and patients must continually altar what they believe or how they believe Endo presents itself in order to catch it early enough to treat. For doctors and those working within the medical system, it’s the “diagnostic bias” that must be shattered. Believing anything other than what a patient is telling you based on their race or ethnicity, influences the decision to even attempt a laparoscopic procedure to diagnose. As a Black woman who had been dismissed many times and took many years to receive a diagnosis, I believe my race and environment had a lot to do with it. Your environment is also important to receiving proper treatment and a diagnosis. Depending on where you are in the world, the healthcare system may not be the best and maybe cannot offer the same level of treatment as someone who lives in a community of higher class. This is a big issue and it’s an issue that falls on the system itself, but doctors can do their part by understanding that even women who reside in the lowest income neighborhoods still have reproductive issues like someone who lives in a higher income neighborhood. 

Simply, we are not our circumstances and although our environments may not be the best, we still deserve the same amount of treatment and respect. Just because Black women and women of color do not fit the parameters placed around sought out Endo symptoms of our Caucasian counterparts, does not mean we do not share similar struggles and diseases. It’s not a linear disease and we have to continue to remember that when attempting to diagnose. 

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