Affecting about 10% of reproductive-age women and girls globally (some 190 million), endometriosis is an often painful gynecological disorder in which tissue similar to the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus – the endometrium – grows outside the uterus.
The ovaries, fallopian tubes, and tissue lining the pelvis can be affected, and rarely, endometrial-like tissue may be found beyond the area where pelvic organs are located. Endometriosis can sometimes cause severe pain, especially during menstrual periods, and it may cause fertility problems.
Today there are pharmaceutical, surgical, and complementary treatments that can benefit women suffering from the disease and prevent the deterioration of their condition. Therefore, it is unfortunate that although there are many treatment options, they are not well known, and many women continue to suffer for many years without diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
Treating endometriosis in the Palestinian territories
However, because endometriosis is almost unknown in the Palestinian Authority (PA), 34-year-old Dr. Abu Khattab from the territories chose to specialize in gynecology and study advanced laparoscopic surgery to treat endometriosis. He completed his residency in gynecology at Hadassah-University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem about a year ago. Out of a desire to advance medicine in the PA and treat women there who suffer from it, he wanted to acquire tools for performing complex surgeries.
Upon completing his internship, he began a two-year course in gynecological endoscopy in the endometriosis and gynecological surgery unit. He is now the first doctor to return to PA with knowledge and professionalism in performing complex laparoscopic surgeries to treat endometriosis.
“I was always interested in treating people, and the choice of medicine was quite clear,” he said. “I studied medicine at the university in Cairo and started my gynecology internship at Hadassah. After working with Dr. Uri Dior, head of the endometriosis and gynecological surgery unit, I quickly understood where I aspired to go. In the PA, awareness of the disease is still very low,” he added. “This created a situation in which women suffer severe damage to their quality of life and fertility problems and do not receive an appropriate diagnosis and treatment.”