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Congressional Endometriosis Caucus raises awareness about disorder affecting women

WASHINGTON — Congresswoman Nikema Williams (D-Georgia) was just 14 years old when she was diagnosed with endometriosis, but she had been dealing with the painful side effects from it even before then.

“I started to not even be able to get out bed,” Williams said. “The pain was so bad.” Around 6.5 million women in the U.S. suffer from the painful disorder and many more likely don’t even know they have it.

According to Mayo Clinic, endometriosis is a painful disorder that involves tissue growing outside the uterus.

It could potentially lead to fertility issues as well.

Williams said she has had to have three surgeries to burn off the lesions growing outside her uterus.

Williams is part of the Congressional Endometriosis Caucus which includes dozens of Members – both women and men.

“I want women to know that they’re not alone,” said Williams. “I want to continue to have conversations like this because so many women are suffering and don’t know why they’re suffering.”

The group’s main goals are to invest in research to find a cure and to raise awareness.

“We still need to do the research so that we can find more treatment options that don’t impact your everyday life,” said Williams. “This Congress, we’re pushing to get the same $26 million in research that was appropriated in the 2021 budget. We want to get that back in the budget for 2022.”

Congress first doubled the funding for federal research for endometriosis in 2020.

“Endometriosis is under-researched and suffers from a lack of proven and effective treatments,” said Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D-Iowa) in 2020, the founder of the bipartisan House Endometriosis Caucus. “Doubling research funding will provide critical additional capacity for studying endometriosis, developing effective treatments and improving the quality of life for millions and millions of women. This is a game-changer.”