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What is Endometriosis?


Signs and symptoms of endometriosis have been observed for thousands of years.

Ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (c. 460 - c. 370 BCE) wrote about adhesions on the uterus. But it wasn’t until 1860 that endometrial tissue outside the uterus was identified by Austrian physician Baron Carl von Rokitansky (1804 - 1878). In the 1920s, American gynaecologist John A. Sampson (1873 - 1946) coined the term ‘endometriosis’.


Endometriosis, however, is part of a much larger narrative of how society imagines our bodies - as vehicles for wombs that must be controlled by society. 


Nowadays, we see the legacy of the wandering womb and hysteria in endometriosis. From the myths that it can be cured with pregnancy or hysterectomy, to the misdiagnoses of chest pain from thoracic endometriosis as “anxiety”, patriarchal myths of how women’s bodies should conform persist.

Endometriosis In History

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