International Women’s Day 2022 #BreakTheBias

Happy International Woman’s Day! For those of you who may be new here, the two things I talk about are sewing and female healthcare. The theme for IWD 2022 is #BreakTheBias. This theme encourages us to consider the myriad ways in which women experience bias and to challenge those biases. As is probably obvious from my overarching theme this month, I want to talk about bias in female healthcare.

It’s fitting that we are talking about gender bias in healthcare in Endometriosis Awareness Month. Endometriosis affects an estimated 176 million women worldwide, approximately 1 in 10 women or those observed female at birth. Despite its high prevalence, Endometriosis is massively under-researched and under-funded. A significant reason for this lack of attention is the normalisation of extreme female pain and the stigma that still persists around the discussion of menstrual health (As-Sanie et al. 2019)

Social stigma towards menstruation causes women to feel like their pain is something to be borne quietly and something that everyone suffers from. A 2012 study showed that the stigma attached to discussing menstrual issues caused women to delay seeking help for up to 2.5 years(Hudelist et al. 2012). One study investigating public perceptions of endometriosis in both male and female populations found that women with endometriosis were more likely to discuss their condition with their physician than women without the condition, leading to a lack of awareness in the wider female population (Shah et al. 2010). 

When women do seek treatment, the response from their physician can still be skewed by gender. While men with chronic pain are often described by physicians as ‘brave’ or ‘stoic’, women are more likely to be described as ‘emotional’ or ‘hysterical’ (Samulowitz et al. 2018). In addition, 74% of Endometriosis patients have received at least one false diagnosis and the social normalisation of dysmenorrhea was shown to dramatically increase diagnosis time (Hudelist et al. 2012). 

It’s sad to say that female pain is treated differently even when its nothing to do with gynaecology. Despite exhibiting the same pain scores, women are less likely to receive opioid analgesia (opioid painkillers) in A&E across both gender and non-gender specific diagnoses. Women also have to wait longer to receive painkillers in these situations(Chen et al, 2008). Furthermore, when presenting with chest pains, men are 2.5 times more likely to be referred to a cardiologist than women despite presenting similar symptoms and pain scores(Clerc-Liaudat et al. 2018). Women have a lower chance of receiving emergency  CPR from a stranger and women are 22% less likely to survive hospital admission for cardiac arrest – men have a 55% chance of survival whereas women only have a 37% chance (Macdonald, 2019).

So what can we do to improve the situation for women?

  1. We break the cycle of menstrual shame and go to our doctors straight away when something isn’t right.
  2. When other women tell us their experiences we can listen openly and accept that our own experience isn’t universal.
  3. We can complain loudly if something isn’t right. If you’ve had a bad A&E experience, complain to your hospital trust. Don’t let them get away with providing sub-standard biased care.

Together we can fight for systemic reform. Together we can break the bias.

References:

As-Sanie, S. Black, R. Giudice, L.C. Valbrun, T.G. Gupta, J. Jones, B. Laufer, M.R. Milspaw, A.T. Missmer, S.A. Norman, A. Taylor, R.N. Wallace, K. Williams, Z. Yong, P.J. Nebel, R.A. (2019)

Assessing research gaps and unmet needs in endometriosis. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. [221:2] 86-94.

Chen, E.H. Shofer, F.S. Dean, A.J. Hollander, J.E. Baxt, W.G. Robey, J.L. Sease, K.L. Mills, A.M. (2008) Gender Disparity in Analgesic Treatment of Emergency Department Patients with Acute Abdominal Pain. Academic Emergency Medicine [15:5] 414-418.

Clerc-Liaudat, C.C. Vaucher, P. De Francesco, T. Jaunin-Stalder, N. Herzig, L. Verdon, F. Favrat, B. Locatelli, I. Clair, C. (2018) Sex/gender bias in the management of chest pain in ambulatory care. Women’s Health [14] 1-9.

Hudelist, G. Fritzer, N. Thomas, A. Niehues, C. Oppelt, P. Haas, D. Tammaa, A. Salzer, H. (2012) Diagnostic delay for endometriosis in Austria and Germany: causes and possible consequences. Human Reproduction. [27:12] 3412–3416.

McDonald, A. (2019) ‘Women less likely to receive bystander CPR than men, research shows’ British Heart Foundation Website. 22nd May. Available from: https://www.bhf.org.uk/what-we-do/news-from-the-bhf/news-archive/2019/may/women-less-likely-to-receive-bystander-cpr-than-men-research-shows

Samulowitz, A. Gremyr, I. Eriksson, E. Hensing, G. (2018) “Brave Men” and “Emotional Women”: A Theory-Guided Literature Review on Gender Bias in Health Care and Gendered Norms towards Patients with Chronic Pain. Pain Research and Management. 1-14.

Shah, D.K., Moravek, M.B., Vahratian, A., Dalton, V.K., Lebovic, D.I. (2010) Public perceptions of endometriosis: perspectives from both genders. Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica. [89:5] 646-650 

#SewYellowForEndo 2022 – Prizes, Sponsors and Much Much More!

Hello wonderful people and Happy Endometriosis Awareness Month! #SewYellowForEndo is back for another year with livestreams, blogs, vlogs, lots of yellow sewing, and lots and LOTS of chat about menstrual health and periods.

I’ve been literally silent here on the blog as things have been so busy I’ve not had the mental space to write but Sew Yellow For Endo is back and I’m hoping this will be a nice push to get back to blogging.

Endometriosis Awareness Month 2022

Endometriosis is a cruel condition that affects one in ten women and is the second most common gynaecological condition in the UK. It causes agonising periods, pain with sex, problems with bowel and bladder function and can contribute to infertility. Despite that diagnosis takes seven years on average and honestly? Thats way too long.

Endometriosis is a cruel condition that affects 1 in 10 women and people observed female at birth, making it the second most common gynaecological condition in the UK. It causes agonising periods, pain with sex, problems with bowel and bladder function and can contribute to infertility. Despite that diagnosis takes eight years on average!

Endometriosis Awareness Month prompts us to talk openly about Endometriosis and menstrual health and the impacts it can have. No one knows what causes endometriosis and there is no known cure. However the earlier you catch it, the more effective treatments can be. The first step is knowing something is wrong which is why discussing menstrual health is vital. I am an endo-warrior and although I had a successful surgery back in June 2019, it is still a condition I will have to live with for the rest of my life.

The aim of #SewYellowForEndo is to raise awareness and provide a platform for other sewists to share their experiences as well as raise money for Endometriosis UK, the main charity supporting Endo warriors in the UK. The month involves Instagram Lives with a range of guests, sharing resources to improve menstrual knowledge, running mini-quizzes, destashing our fabrics for a good cause, and sewing up plenty of yellow garments!

Key Events: Sew Yellow For Endo 2022

The Big Destash – 12th & 13th March

The Big Destash invites you to destash for a good cause! You can destash fabrics, patterns, notions – whatever you want! Over the weekend of the 12th and 13th March share your fabrics on Instagram for whatever price is appropriate and then donate what you’re able of the profits to our Just Giving page.

How Do I Enter?

  • Take photos of what you want to destash and post them on Instagram with the price either on your grid or on your stories on Saturday 12th & Sunday 13th.
  • Post off your destash item to its new owner!
  • Donate whatever amount you are able to to the Just Giving Page

The Sew Yellow Challenge – Reveal Day 26th March

I am inviting you to learn more about Endometriosis and sew up a yellow or partially yellow garment/outfit. Put your sewing skills to the test and support the Endometriosis community by whipping up a gorgeous yellow garment and show it off on 26th March on Instagram!

How Do I Enter?

Like the sound of the challenge? Well entering is super easy! All you need to do is:

  • Sew a yellow (or partially yellow) garment/outfit and post a picture on instagram with the hashtag #SewYellowForEndo2022 on the weekend of the 26th March. Please tag me @sowhatifisew so I can find your entry.
  • Donate £1 to Endometriosis UK via my Just Giving Page (remember to include your instagram name in the donation message!)
  • Include a fun fact you’ve learnt about Endometriosis or tell me whats been your favourite part of the Endometriosis Awareness Month in the caption of your post.

Entrants must be over 18 and UK resident to be eligible for prizes. If you’re none-UK based and still want to take part I would love to see your yellow outfit and I am working on sourcing some international prizes as we speak.

Challenge Prizes

I am extremely pleased to say that we have some fabulous sponsors on board who are donating prizes to the challenge! We have…. *drum roll please*

  • Lush Cloth will be offering a £25 gift voucher for the winner to use on any products within 3 months of the challenge.
  • Sew Sew Sew are donating a £20 gift voucher to spend in their online shop.
  • The Stitch Sisters are donating any one class for free to one of your winners. 
  • Crafty Sew & So and their sister brand My Handmade Wardrobe Patterns have teamed up to provide an amazing prize! Imagine waking up and choosing a unique garment from a wardrobe full of your own creations. With My Handmade Wardrobe Patterns, you can create comfortable and stylish everyday essentials to get you excited about getting dressed every single day!  The winner chosen will be able to choose three MHW pdf patterns to download. What would you choose?  Our oh so comfy Cosy Jersey Dress, the classic Ready To Party Dress, or a stylish Button Up Skirt. We can’t wait to see! *N.B. The extension pack for the Cosy Jersey Dress will be excluded from this offer.
  • Stitch & Ink Fabrics are donating a £10 voucher for their online shop.
  • Tammy Handmade is offering a wonderful pattern bundle including the Raj Dress & Hayley Robe.
  • Jenny Stitches Fabric is offering a £25 gift voucher, for use on anything in store and online, to one lucky winner.
  • 1st For Fabrics are donating a £20 gift voucher.
  • Size Me Sewing are offering 5 people the chance to win 1 pdf of their choice
  • CLC Essex would like to offer any Ellie & Mac pattern plus the pattern pack with the A0 pages, premium booklet and printed envelope all included.
  • Pattern Pouch Nest, a new business in the sewing community, is offering one of their new pattern goodie bags with a pattern of your choice .
  • Hey Sew Sister are donating a prize of a £25 voucher to spend on our website. 
  • Sew Totally Me are offering a £15 fabric voucher to spend on their website.
  • Stitch Crafts UK are donating one of their stunning handmade sewing machine covers to one lucky winner.

Winners will be chosen randomly on Monday 28th March over on instagram!

Yellow Fabric Discounts

To help you get involved a number of sewing companies are offering discounts on yellow fabrics or will be donating a percentage of sales to Endometriosis UK.

Fabric Donation

  • Crafty Sew & So will be donating 10% sales from Yellow Fabrics to Endometriosis UK during the month of March. Check out their website here: https://craftysewandso.com
  • Made With Love Scrunchies are donating 20% of their sales from the month of March to Endometriosis UK – find them on instagram!
  • Fleur Et Oeurs are going to be donating 10% of their yellow fabric sales to Endometriosis UK, check out their collection of fabrics here: https://fleuretours.com/product-category/yellow/
  • Scrunchies & Sew are donating 20% of their sales that include a yellow item to Endometriosis UK – find them on instagram!

Instagram Live Series

The other big event series going on this month is the Instagram Lives with Endometriosis Warriors from across the sewing community. Join us every Wednesday on instagram to talk about all things Endo! Lets normalise discussing menstrual health, raise awareness of the condition and the variety of experiences had within the Endometriosis community. We will also have some more scientific content talking about what the condition actually is so anyone who hasn’t heard of it can learn more. I’ve listed the lives below so check them out and come along!

  • 2nd March 8pm – My own endo experience (this has already happened but you can watch it back here!)
  • 4th March 8pm – What I’m Sewing & So What If I Sew – Endo Experiences
  • 9th March 7pm – Sew Much To Say & So What If I Sew – Endo Experiences
  • 16th March 8pm – The Mindful Scientist & So What If I Sew – What is Endometriosis?
  • 23rd March 8pm –  Sew Sew Becki & So What If I Sew – Endo Experiences
  • 30th March 8pm – The Hungary Sewist & So What If I Sew – Endo Experiences

The fact is that many women have to go through an average 8 years of agony to get diagnosed and it’s terrible. How many women will go their whole lives not being believed about their pain, being told its normal or ‘part of being a woman’ to suffer? This year I want to shout about menstrual health, have some fabulous conversations, learn, sew some beautiful yellow garments, and support EndometriosisUK.

Let’s end the stigma around menstrual health and let’s talk about Endometriosis.