A women’s health issue often going misdiagnosed for years before it’s treated is endometriosis.

March is the awareness month for the disorder in which tissue that normally lines the uterus, grows outside the uterus.

A local chapter led by a nurse practitioner has seen a surge in women reaching out for support.

The variety of symptoms include painful periods, pain during intercourse, pain with bowel movements or urination and for some, infertility.

“The NIH (National Institutes of Health) has budgeted for us for the year, $7 million, there are nine million in the U.S. who suffer,” said Tafiea Stokes, chapter president for Team Syracuse Worldwide EndoMarch. “That’s less than a dollar per patient. So, we’re trying to bring more attention to this, to get more funding for research and hopefully for a cure.”

The average person sees about seven specialists, according to Stokes, who also says it takes about eight to 12 years to get an official diagnosis.

Last year, Stokes shared her own journey to being diagnosed with the disorder.

Stokes is helping lead several local awareness events and will travel to Washington, D.C., at the end of March to lobby for more funding for endometriosis treatment research while also pushing to increase the amount of education devoted to misdiagnosed disorders such as endometriosis.

On Saturday, March 16, the Syracuse chapter will host “Tattoos for Warriors” at Old King Head’s Tattoo.

Starting at 1 p.m., endo tattoos will be performed by the shop’s tattoo artist with funds going toward the cause.

There is a $5 door fee to raise funds and the night event will feature raffles and a silent auction. Prices of the endo tattoos will vary.

More updates on events will be posted to the chapter’s Instagram page.

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