Video: Breaking the Stigma of Endometriosis with Dr. Singh

Faculty of Medicine

By Tiffany Barnes-Huggins

Marketing and Communications Officer | Agente de marketing et de la communication, Faculty of Medicine | Faculté de médecine

Clinician with model uterus
According to Endometriosis Network Canada, 1 in 10 women across the country are affected by endometriosis. To mark Endometriosis Awareness Month in March, we sat down with Dr. Sony Singh to discuss the disease and help break the stigma surrounding it.

What is endometriosis?

Dr Singh: Endometriosis is a common condition and I look at it in two ways. It's a disease, which is where tissue that is like the lining of the uterus can grow anywhere else inside the body, whether it be on the ovaries, on the other organs, on the bladder, or even far away on the skin. But the more important impact is that it is a condition that affects millions across the country. And the symptoms that it causes are debilitating at their worst. So painful periods, pain with intercourse or sex, painful bowel movements, pain with voiding and of course chronic pain, that means daily pain. Finally, it can also impact fertility, something we call infertility or difficulty getting pregnant.

What are the biggest barriers for diagnosis and treatment?

Dr Singh: There is a significant delay to diagnosis for those who may have endometriosis. Up to seven to 10 years can be the time from first presentation of symptoms to finally getting the diagnosis and the proper treatment. So the biggest barrier we have is education and awareness, whether it be in the public, or amongst clinicians, physicians and nurses.

What are the treatments?

Dr Singh: Individuals who may have endometriosis need a personalized plan. There is no one single treatment that's right for everybody. It really depends on one's goals. If it's to manage pain, then we manage the pain. If it's to manage fertility or trying to get pregnant, we need to look at that. Often it's both, so there are many options. There are medications and or surgery, but it really takes time to consider all those factors to make an individualized treatment plan that's right for everybody.

What to do if endometriosis is suspected? 

Dr Singh: For those who suspect they have endometriosis, it's important to learn more about the condition. Years of pain or trying to get pregnant and having difficulty, may be endometriosis. So the more an individual can learn, the more they can then advocate for themselves with their health practitioner in order to get the right treatment in a timely fashion. So it's all about education and awareness.

Endometriosis Education Fund: How can it help?

Dr Singh: The Endometriosis Education Fund at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine will allow us to increase awareness of this very common condition. With millions affected across the country, the University of Ottawa can now use this support to help educate learners in medical school, other clinicians and physicians, nurse practitioners or nurses but also the public. It's an opportunity to put endometriosis on the map where it should be.

You can watch the full interview here.


The Endometriosis Education Fund was created through a generous $25,000 contribution from Marites and Rodney Steiman. It will be used to support knowledge translation, education and research around endometriosis at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Ottawa.

The fund represents a critical opportunity to address an often underdiagnosed and misunderstood health issue that affects women across Canada. To learn more about the fund and the donor’s journey with endometriosis, read the full article here:

New uOttawa fund seeks to shorten the long road to endometriosis diagnosis and treatment

For more information on endometriosis, check out the education page for endometriosis created by Dr. Singh and colleagues from the Ottawa Hospital.