As many as 1 in 10 women who suffer from endometriosis may wake up in pain every day, and it can take 10 years or more to get a diagnosis. For decades, some medical professionals told sufferers, “The pain is in your head,” or, “You just have to grin and bear it, because painful periods come with the territory of being female.”

Today, endometriosis is recognized as a significant health issue for women. A fairly common condition, endometriosis affects women of reproductive age, generally from 12 to 52 years old, and there is no known specific cause. Celebrities including TV host and author Padma Lakshmi and writer and actress Lena Dunham, both of whom experience endometriosis, hope to shed light on the cause of endometriosis. They are outspoken advocates for more funding and research into its causes, as well as cures and treatments.

What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis gets its name from the word endometrium, which is the tissue that lines the inside of a healthy uterus, or womb. Endometriosis occurs when this inner tissue begins growing outside of the uterus