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France formally recognises endometriosis as ‘long-term condition’

The bill was passed unanimously through parliament. It means that all costs of care and treatment for the painful condition will now be covered by the state

Recognising the condition as officially long-term means it is covered by l’Assurance maladie Pic: BlurryMe / Shutterstock

Endometriosis, a painful and debilitating condition that affects 1 in 10 women in France, has been formally recognised as a ‘long-term condition’ by the French parliament.

A “long-term condition” (affection longue durée (ALD)) in France means that care and treatment for the illness is completely covered by l’Assurance maladie.

The bill was put forward by political party (far-left) La France Insoumise, and l’Assemblée Nationale voted it through unanimously yesterday (January 13), with 111 votes for, and zero against. 

MP for Seine-Saint-Denis Clémentine Autain, who presented the bill and wanted to have the definition “set in stone”, said the vote was “a giant step forward for millions of women”.

She said: “We can create a raft of rights for women who suffer. [This will especially help] poorly-paid women, those in precarious conditions, and the poorest [for whom the illness] is even more difficult to live with.”

Endometriosis is a disorder where tissue that usually lines the inside of the uterus grows outside the uterus, usually in the ovaries, fallopian tubes and pelvis. It can cause pain, bleeding, irritation, scar tissue, and even fibrous adhesions that can cause organs to stick together.

It can cause painful periods, pain during sex, painful bowel movements, excessive bleeding, fatigue, digestive issues, nausea, and infertility.

It can be difficult to diagnose and it still takes an average of seven years before women are diagnosed correctly. 

Read more: President Macron launches French campaign against endometriosis 

The ALD decision comes two days after President Emmanuel Macron announced the launching of a national strategy to combat the illness.

He stated: “It’s not only a ‘women’s problem’. It’s society’s problem.”

The national plan will aim to boost understanding and awareness of the issue, as well as improve diagnosis rates and treatment plans.

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