To mark Endometriosis Awareness Month this March, Sapphire Medical Clinics has announced its support for the 1.5million women in the UK who are impacted by the condition.
The UK’s first CQC-registered medical cannabis clinic, Sapphire Medical has treated several patients living with the debilitating chronic condition, which affects approximately 10 percent of women aged between 25 and 40.
Endometriosis is often associated with pelvic or abdominal pain but can also cause significant pain elsewhere in the body and lead to other symptoms, including painful sex, reduced fertility and fatigue.
The pain – which typically begins a few days before a woman gets her period and can last its duration – and other symptoms of endometriosis can significantly impact a woman’s quality of life.
This is exacerbated by delays in diagnosis – on average it takes 7.5 years from the onset of symptoms for a woman to receive a diagnosis.
Experts believe this is in part due to implicit bias, which is prevalent across the healthcare profession and according to researchers in 2017, involves “associations outside conscious awareness” that lead to a “negative evaluation of a person on the basis of irrelevant characteristics such as race or gender.”
Conventional endometriosis-related pain treatment involves pain killers and/or hormonal treatment, with surgical intervention appropriate in some patients but medicinal cannabis is now available as an alternative when these first line therapies have not proved effective.
Until the law changed in November 2018, women living with endometriosis whose traditional treatment was not working, were unable to access legal medical cannabis for their pain and many were forced to self-medicate by purchasing illicit cannabis, with no guarantee of its quality or contamination.
Andie Willis, a patient of Sapphire Medical who has previously suffered with endometriosis and is prescribed medical cannabis for a chronic-pain-related condition, says: “Endometriosis is an evil condition that brings a raft of issues to women, including excruciating pain.
“Medical cannabis has been very helpful in managing my pain and it has been refreshing to be able to discuss my pain with the clinicians at Sapphire Medical as they are committed to truly listening to their patients.”
Sapphire Medical’s mission is to improve patient access to MHRA-approved medical cannabis to treat debilitating pain as a result of endometriosis as well as other chronic-pain related conditions when their conventional therapies have not worked.
“Endometriosis impacts 1.5 million women in the UK and therefore Sapphire Medical strongly supports Endometriosis Awareness Month and is committed to supporting women who suffer from it,” says Dr Wendy Holden, rheumatologist and pain specialist at Sapphire Medical.
“As our knowledge of pain conditions that respond positively to medical cannabis grows, Sapphire Medical wants to ensure more patients know that medical cannabis is an option for their pain.”
Dr Holden adds: “Moreover, the issue of implicit bias is one that we take very seriously at Sapphire Medical as it relates to all of our patients.
“To ensure a patient-centred approach is always taken, Sapphire Medical has instituted a system that includes a rigorous process to prescribing medication. This includes a strict triaging process and a multi-disciplinary team deciding every potential new patient prescription. As such, our patients can rest assured their wellbeing is at the centre of everything we do.”
To understand if you or a loved one is eligible for treatment with medical cannabis, please fill out the Sapphire Eligibility Assessment.
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