About the solution
Shannon Cohn, a filmmaker who understands first-hand the pain of endometriosis, unveiled "Below the Belt" in 2023, a documentary designed to raise awareness, educate medical professionals, and empower women facing the challenges of endometriosis.
Endometriosis is a highly painful disorder that suffers 1 out of 10 women that occurs when tissue similar to the uterine lining grows outside the uterus, causing complications in the pelvic area and sometimes other organs. "Below the Belt" depicts the struggles of women with endometriosis, emphasizing the pervasive issue of delayed diagnosis, averaging 7-9 years.
The documentary narrates the journeys of four women navigating the complexities of living with endometriosis without a proper diagnosis. Through these narratives, it exposes systemic issues within healthcare, illustrating the challenges patients face in obtaining timely and accurate diagnoses. This struggle, as Shannon emphasizes, goes beyond physical pain to a dismissive approach that leaves many women feeling unheard.
Having endured 13 years with an undiagnosed condition herself, Shannon aimed to break the silence surrounding endometriosis. She views the delayed diagnosis not just as a medical issue but as a form of gaslighting, where women's legitimate symptoms are dismissed. Her film aims to dismantle this taboo and prevent more women from being told their symptoms are "all in their head."
Beyond the screen, Shannon and her documentary team are actively collaborating with the US government to fund dedicated research into endometriosis and women's health. The film, a decade-long labor, earned the support from influential figures such as Hillary Clinton, Dawson, model Corinne Foxx, and actress Mae Whitman, who serve as executive producers.
"Below the Belt," born from Shannon's conviction, is not merely a documentary; it's a powerful tool for transforming healthcare systems, challenging societal norms, and paving the way for a future where women with endometriosis receive the understanding and care they deserve. Importantly, the film addresses the fact that late diagnosis is a pervasive issue, impacting the lives of women with endometriosis and contributing to the challenges faced by 30% to 50% of women experiencing infertility associated with the condition.
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