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Rep. Finkenauer Fights For Seven Million Americans With Endometriosis

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John Pemble/IPR file
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Rep. Finkenauer was diagnosed with endometriosis when she was 18 years old. Now, she's fighting to find treatment at the federal level.

Last week, U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer, D-Iowa, stood up in front of the House of Representatives in Washington D.C. to share her painful story of living with endometriosis, a disease she was diagnosed with more than ten years ago.

Rep. Finkenauer’s story made her the first representative to share a personal account of endometriosis on the chamber floor, and coincided with her announcement of the first-ever Congressional Endometriosis Caucus. The caucus will seek more federal funding for research aimed at finding new potential treatments for endometriosis, which currently does not have a cure and receives only a fraction of the funding allocated for other common diseases.  

It’s estimated that seven million women in the United States live with endometriosis, a disease that occurs when tissues similar to the lining of the uterus grow outside of the womb. Symptoms of endometriosis are often incredibly painful, and can lead to other long-term health complications including fibroids, infertility and increased risk for certain cancers.

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month, and on this episode of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe is joined by Rep. Finkenauer; Dr. Rachel Mejia, a reproductive endocrinologist at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics; and other Iowans impacted by endometriosis for an in-depth look at this disease, and the impact it has on women across the state and the country.  

Guests include:

  • Rep. Abby Finkenauer, D-Iowa
  • Dr. Rachel Mejia - Reproductive Endocrinologist, Director of Fertility Preservation, and Clinical Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology – Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at the University of Iowa
  • Chris Byerly – Ankeny resident diagnosed with endometriosis 40 years ago.

Katelyn Harrop is a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa