Grace Tame reveals endometriosis diagnosis after years of pain

Grace Tame has revealed she is one of seven Australian women living with endometriosis, after years of ignoring her symptoms and struggling with chronic pelvic pain, which she initially attributed to her traumatic experiences of child sexual abuse.

The activist revealed that she underwent surgery last month to remove endometriosis from her intestines, pelvic walls and cruciate ligaments.

Around one million Australians suffer from endometriosis, a chronic condition that causes pain and infertility. There is no cure.

“It’s easy to fall into the trap of internalizing trauma to our detriment,” she said.

“I always assumed that my chronic pelvic pain was solely due to ongoing sexual abuse and have learned to distance myself from it for the most part.

“I attributed the severe episodes of illness to food poisoning. That is, until the end of 2022, when I began vomiting weekly until the beginning of 2023.

“After testing negative for Crohn’s disease, celiac disease and IBD, my cousin Morgan encouraged me to see a gynecologist for the first time in over a decade.”

Ms Tame said in an Instagram post that her gynecologist suspected endometriosis, and the diagnosis was confirmed in a laparoscopic surgery.

“On May 24, I underwent a laparoscopy to remove endometriosis from my colon, pelvic walls, and cruciate ligaments.

“The surgery went smoothly and as I write this, I am eternally grateful to be here now, even though removal is not a cure-all for this disease,” she said.

“I am grateful that despite the lack of prevention and cure, there are still options and we are not alone.

“I am grateful for my friends, family and colleagues who continue to show me unwavering support, patience and understanding despite unanswered texts and missed deadlines. I am grateful to be able to afford and access treatment when women’s reproductive health is underfunded, underresearched, underreported and generally undervalued.

“One in seven women suffers from endometriosis. At least my sore, swollen tummy is safe. Around the world, including here in Australia, countless marginalized women are denied the basic human right to healthcare.”

In March, news.com.au launched a new editorial campaign called “About Bloody Time” to demand longer, Medicare-funded consultations to diagnose and treat endometriosis.

The campaign was prompted by a news.com.au reader survey of more than 1,700 endometriosis patients, which revealed a worrying trend: women are being denied painkillers, labelled as drama queens and referred for psychiatric assessment by their doctors, even though their period pain is caused by endometriosis.

“One million Australian women have spent an average of seven years of their lives being told that their endometriosis – a disease that causes chronic pain and infertility – is just bad period pain – they should take a painkiller and toughen up,” said Kerry Warren, editor of news.com.au.

“But endometriosis is not just bad period pain. It is a chronic, often lifelong condition for which there is no cure. It affects every part of a woman’s life, from relationships and work to her ability to raise a family.

“Women are tired of suffering in silence. They don’t have access to adequate medical care and have to pay thousands of dollars out of their own pocket when they do receive it. It’s high time that changed.”

Two months after the launch of the campaign, the federal government announced investments of $49.1 million to combat the disease.

Starting July 1, 2025, Medicare will cover longer specialist consultations of 45 minutes or more for women with endometriosis.

Health Minister Mark Butler said he was “deeply moved by the women who spoke about their experiences of endometriosis during the About Bloody Time campaign”.

“I hope that today’s announcement makes them feel heard,” he said.

News.com.au launched the campaign with a very personal and engaging video featuring senior reporter Lexie Cartwright, who lives with endometriosis and led the campaign.

The video was viewed more than 4.4 million times on news.com.au and its social channels and was crucial to the success of the campaign.

“News.com.au has an audience of almost 13 million and we wanted to use our reach to advocate for change and raise standards of care across the country,” said Editor-in-Chief Lisa Muxworthy.

“Today’s victory underlines the importance of journalism and our ability to build a better Australia for all Australians. We are all here to make a difference, push boundaries and have the courage to challenge the way things are done.”

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