Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

The Cardiff woman painting her city to raise awareness of endometriosis

A woman from Cardiff is painting the walls of her city to raise awareness of endometriosis.

Credit: Robin French

It took Jaimee Rae McCormack 13 years to get a diagnosis for her condition which she said has "blighted her life". She said she resorted to painting the side of a house to raise attention of the issue.

Now she is expanding her project "Endowalls: The Rising Awareness" to try and help other women with the condition.

The first Endowall was painted on the side of a house in Cathays.
The third Endowall in the making in Cardiff's Riverside area. Credit: @jaimeerae1990/Instagram
  • What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a medical condition where tissue, like that of the lining in the womb, starts to grow elsewhere in the body.

NHS guidelines suggest the condition can affect women of any age but is most common in women in their 30s and 40s.

1 in 10
women have endometriosis.

Charity Endometriosis UK estimates one in ten women "endure unrelenting pain" everyday as a result of the condition.

The group Fair Treatment for the Women of Wales says that means around 150,000 women and girls in Wales have endometriosis.

As one of those women, Jaimee Rae took her struggle to the streets of Cardiff and began the Endowalls project.

The 29-year-old creates colourful murals to spread awareness about endometriosis and show other women with the condition that they have support.

Jaimee Rae writes the names of 'Endowarriors', other women with the condition, on her walls.

Jaimee Rae thinks if the condition affected as many men as it does women, "a lot more would have been done a long time ago" in terms of medical support.

I began spraying the side of my last house in March 2017, out of pure frustration and desperation to be heard and believed by the doctors. I felt there had to be something that I could do to try and help raise awareness. The EndoWall was born, shedding a positive visual light on to this negative 'invisible' disease. Before I knew it messages were flooding in from EndoWarriors all over the world.

– Jaimee Rae, Creator

She wants better awareness and understanding among medical professionals when it comes to research, diagnosis, and treatment of endometriosis.

Jaimee Rae's movement #EndoWall aims to spread the word and support other women with endometriosis.
Using spray paint, Jaimee Rae has been decorating walls around the city. Credit: Jaimee Rae

NHS guidelines on endometriosis say the cause of the condition is not known, though several theories have been suggested including:

  • Genetics
  • Problems with the immune system
  • Retrograde menstruation
  • and endometrium cells spreading through the body in the bloodstream

Following an NHS review into endometriosis services in Wales, a report found "a lack of understanding" among some health professionals and described how "current provision fails to meet the level of need".

Commenting on the report published last year, Health Secretary Vaughan Gething said: "This is the start of a process that will improve the lives of women in Wales affected by endometriosis".

Jaimee Rae is looking for new spaces to create EndoWalls in Wales and elsewhere.

After a recent overhaul of the educational curriculum taught in Wales, Endometriosis UK has called on the Welsh Assembly to introduce menstrual wellbeing as part of the “Health and Wellbeing” curriculum.

Education plays a key role in ensuring women do not suffer in silence with conditions such as endometriosis, and will help drive down diagnosis time which currently averages at a shocking 7.5 years, and ensure conditions like endometriosis don’t go underdiagnosed because young women aren’t given enough information about what is and isn’t normal when it comes to their menstrual cycle.

– Endometriosis UK

The UK Government recently announced that menstrual wellbeing will be taught in schools in England from 2020.

Issues around menstrual wellbeing in Wales have been prominent in recent months, with promises from the Welsh Government to end period poverty.

Regarding the issue of teaching menstrual wellbeing in schools, the Welsh Government said it "welcomes feedback" on the draft curriculum.

Endometriosis UK says women need information on 'what is and isn’t normal'. Credit: PA

Later this month, twelve surgeons will cycle from London to Cardiff stopping off at endometriosis centres on the way, to fundraise Endometriosis UK.

Simon Phillips, a surgeon at University Hospital of Wales, is taking part in the 220 mile cycle. He says he's seen "first hand the devastating impact endometriosis can have on a woman’s life".

There needs to be more investment into research and education to support the 1.5 million women affected by this disease. It’s so important women with pelvic pain ask their doctor to rule out endometriosis and not just put the pain down to heavy or painful periods.

– Simon Phillips, Consultant Colo-rectal Surgeon

Watch the full report here: