Foundation educates WA students on pelvic pain in school chat

Jessica MoroneyGeraldton Guardian
Lauren McTavish on an online course
Camera IconLauren McTavish on an online course Credit: Supplied

It’s a fact of life for girls and women, but a subject many of the opposite sex find awkward and try to avoid talking about.

Now, the issues of periods and the pain they cause are coming to the classroom in the Mid West thanks to a new health initiative.

Four Mid West schools are supporting not-for-profit, The Periods, Pain and Endometriosis Program (PPEP Talk), with Year 10 to 12 students — both girls and boys — to be involved in a one-hour discussion on severe period and pelvic pain, which can escalate in extreme cases into endometriosis.

The sessions will start next week and are tailored for girls, boys, special education and culturally diverse students.

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Pelvic Pain Foundation clinical educator Lauren McTavish said the program was designed to bring more awareness to Year 10, 11 and 12 students of the tools and strategies to recognise unusual period pain when newly settling into menstruation.

“People can recognise that some symptoms aren’t very common and that encourages people to seek help and increase diagnosis,” Mrs McTavish said.

The Mid West schools included in the program are Champion Bay Senior High School, Geraldton Flexible Learning Centre, Geraldton Grammar School and Kalbarri District High School.

Endometriosis is a condition where tissue grows abnormally around the uterus causing discomfort, pain and infertility in some women.

According to an Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report in 2016-17, there were roughly 34,200 endometriosis-related hospitalisations in Australia — a rate of 6 in 1000 women.

Mrs McTavish said there were different types of pelvic pain and the program discussed multiple management strategies and lifestyle changes to manage them.

“There’s not just one solution, it’s about targeting different areas,” she said.

“If the pain isn’t managed it can become worse.”

Mrs McTavish said while endometriosis was not a life-threatening disorder, it could affect fertility, and students should be made aware of pain management strategies.

“We touch on pelvic pain in men, as one in 12 males can develop pelvic pain,” she said, adding that in men pelvic pain could develop later in life.

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