In 2016 EndoFound (The Endometriosis Foundation of America) began a new community-based outreach program called The ENPOWR Project (ENdometriosis: Promoting Outreach and Wide Recognition) that “raises awareness and promotes treatment-seeking behavior” in adolescents (1). The 45-minute lesson teaches teens about Endometriosis, its symptoms, and how to evaluate if they might need to seek a specialist. The lesson teaches teens how to be advocates for their own health.
One of the biggest lessons The ENPOWR Project teaches is that early intervention of Endometriosis is the best way to an increased quality of life– if Endometriosis is allowed to grow and continue without diagnosis for years and years, it will only continue to cause problems (rarely does it stay “mild”). The best chance a girl has for long-term success is early diagnosis– and most ladies who struggle with Endometriosis diagnosis and treatment in their twenties and thirties had warning signs during adolescence which were ignored, overlooked, or brushed off as “normal.”
Another lesson taught is symptom tracking (and this is beneficial for all health issues, not just Endometriosis). Instead of going to a doctor complaining of generalized issues, the teen will be prepared with a list, journal, or chart of which symptoms occur on which days, at what intensity, and in the presence or absence of other symptoms. By being prepared with this evidence, the teen is more likely to be taken seriously by a health provider. It’s beneficial when adult patients do this, and it’s just as beneficial when children do it, too.
The ENPOWR Project has currently completed over 900 lessons and reached more than 30,000 adolescents. It hopes to spread nationally and continue into other countries.
Source (1): “The ENPOWR Project.” 2018 EndoFound.org. https://www.endofound.org/enpowr