World Endometriosis Society welcomes Austrian EU-presidency initiative: Austrian Health Minister urges more awareness for endometriosis

24 JANUARY 2006

Maria Rauch-Kallat, Federal Minister for Health and Women in Austria, is taking action, and will focus on women’s health, and endometriosis in particular, during the Austrian EU presidency in 2006.

Endometriosis affects an estimated 16 million women in Europe alone, with an annual cost of €30 billion in days lost to work due to the severity of its symptoms.

Picture of Maria Rauch-Kallat
Maria Rauch-Kallat, Federal Minister for Health and Women, Austria

Says Rauch-Kallat:

More than a third of European Parliamentarians signed the Written Declaration on endometriosis in 2005, and clearly pointed out the necessity for more information and education about endometriosis, as well as increased research on how this illness arises.

A 2005 study of 7,025 women with endometriosis from 52 countries shows an average diagnostic delay of 8.3 years, with 65% originally being misdiagnosed with another condition.

More gender sensitivity is required here in order to recognise symptoms and to treat them in good time. Women are not men, and this fact also has to be taken into consideration in medical training and treatment,

says Rauch-Kallat.

The Austrian Presidency aims to initiate a women’s health report, which should document the status of all 25 EU member states in the field of women’s health. In addition, Rauch-Kallat will ensure that women’s health is the central theme of the April meeting in Vienna of European Health Ministers.

World Endometriosis Society welcomes initiative

Picture of Jacques Donnez
Professor Jacques Donnez, Scientific Director, World Endometriosis Society

Jacques Donnez, Professor at Louvain University in Brussels and Scientific Director of the World Endometriosis Society, welcomes Rauch-Kallat’s commitment:

Research into endometriosis and the best possible therapeutic options has long been prioritised within the medical community that specialises in this field.

However, funding has always been scarce for basic research into the mechanisms of endometriosis, and we still do not have a cure or a non-invasive diagnostic procedure.

The World Endometriosis Society welcomes this promising initiative by the Austrian Minister for Health and Women, who has recognised that endometriosis still requires a great deal of research work and funding to carry this out,

said Professor Donnez

Background information
  1. Endometriosis is a condition where tissue, similar to the lining of the uterus, is found in other areas of the body (mainly in the abdominal cavity). This tissue responds to a woman’s hormonal cycle. However, unlike blood in connection with the period it remains within the body, where it bleeds and forms lesions, blood-filled cysts, and adhesions, resulting in inflammation, pain, infertility, and potentially other medical problems.
  2. Maria Rauch-Kallat’s plan for 2006 can be found in www.bmgf.gv.at and www.eu2006.at
  3. The 2005 Written Declaration on Endometriosis was authored by Diana Wallis MEP, John Bowin OBE MEP, Jean Lambert MEP, Catherine Stihler MEP, and Charles Tannock MEP, and was signed by more than a third of all MEPs.
  4. The World Endometriosis Society is a professional organisation of physicians, scientists, and researchers who specialise in endometriosis. Their mission is to promote the exchange of clinical experience, scientific thought and investigation, and to foster research in endometriosis pathogenesis and treatment, in order to advance the field of endometriosis.
  5. The 2005 study of was carried out by the Endometriosis All Party Parliamentary Group in the UK, and comprised 7,025 women with endometriosis from 52 countries.

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