Health milestones for women we loved to see as scientists find potential treatment for endometriosis

A promising new clinical trial will see women given a potential new treatment for endometriosis and if it’s successful, it could be the first ever non-surgical and non-hormonal treatment for the condition. This is fantastic news for women… everywhere.

Endometriosis is a long-term condition where tissue similar to the lining of the womb grows in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes. There are many symptoms, but the main ones include heavy periods, excruciating period pains, and pelvic pains.

Researchers from Aberdeen, Birmingham and Edinburgh universities will assess whether a drug called Dichloroacetate can help to manage the pain that comes with the condition.

If approved, it could be huge for those who have the condition, as it’s something that has famously been understudied and pushed aside. On average, it takes eight years for women to get a diagnosis.

So to celebrate this step towards victory, let’s look back at some other milestone moments for women’s health:

Contraceptive Pill

Perhaps one of the most famous health landmarks for women, the introduction of the contraceptive in 1961 was the beginning of a new era of sexual liberation and freedom.

It also allowed women to plan if and when they have children, meaning women could choose to further their education or focus on their careers.


In 1965, HRT was made available to women. It’s important to note though that this was done without the kind of trials that would be done today to look at the side effects, and in 1996 the Millon Women Study found it was linked to a slightly increased rate of breast and ovarian cancer.

Since then, many studies have been carried out proving HRT to be a safe option for women, but it’s a reminder of why we need to keep fighting and pushing for the best when it comes to women’s healthcare


The Abortion act 1967 saw the legalisation of abortion here in the UK. It’s estimated one in three women in the UK under the age of 45 will have an abortion in their lifetime, and the importance of such a landmark piece of legislation should not be underestimated, or taken for granted.

Cervical screening

Despite the stigma that can sometimes surround a smear test it is encouraging to see that The NHS Cervical Screening Programme (established in 1988) has made a huge impact on cervical cancer mortality- saving an estimated 5,000 lives a year. These days you can even get home testing HPV kits, once again reminding us just how far healthcare for women has come.

Breast cancer screening

The NHS Breast Screening Programme also began in 1988 and screens around 1.3 million women every year. Annually, the programme diagnoses around 10,000 women. That’s a lot of lives potentially being saved.

Gender Recognition Act 2004

Since 2005, it has been possible for transgender people in the UK to change their legal gender. This was a win for women in so many ways, and put the healthcare system on the track of beginning to recognise all women. In 2010 under the Equality Act, gender reassignment was officially added as a “protected characteristic.”

Contraceptive male pill

Now it might not necessarily spring to mind as a milestone for women- but bare with me here. An on-demand male contraceptive pill may be closer than ever. It’s a pill that would be taken shortly before sex, and stops sperm from swimming.

Scientists think it looks promising, and although it’s not hitting the shelves just yet, the last 10 years have seen lots more focus (and money) shift onto the male side of contraception which could mean that sometime in the future, we might no longer need a contraceptive pill which messes with our hormones, our skin, our weight, our blood… Shall I go on?

So ladies, we really have come a long way, and looking back and reflecting is great. Not only is it great, but it’s important too: Important that we acknowledge those who came and fought before us. But more importantly, we need to look forward: Forward to the milestones we are yet to achieve, and the women we can and need to protect with equal healthcare for all.


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