Those of you with a better memory than mine may remember a post from July last year about the cost of endometriosis in terms of lost work hours. Well since then some more information has come to light and I’ve been doing some calculations. Specifically, how much loss of earnings can be attributed to endometriosis? I therefore apologise for the mathematics that follow, but rather than just shout numbers, I’d rather go through the sums with you (mostly because if I’ve made a mistake or my logic is flawed you can chastise me in the comments).
So let’s get started, first off I’ll be concentrating on the United States as there is more data available from there. How many women have endometriosis in the U.S? The short answer is simply ‘we don’t know for sure’ but we can take an educated guess. It is universally stated that endometriosis affects around 10% of women of reproductive age (i.e. between the ages of 15-65 years old), so how many women of reproductive age are there in the U.S? According to the U.S Census Bureau there were 102,161,823 women of reproductive age in 2008. To estimate the number of women with endo we need 10% of 102,161,823 which is 10,216,182.
Now we need to know how much endo is costing each woman, according to the WERF study last year each endo sufferer loses an average of 11 hours per week, so that’s 572 hours per year. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average female wage was $20.90 an hour in 2009. So, in order to approximate how much loss of earnings can be attributed to endometriosis we calculate:
(Number of women with endo) X (Number of hours lost per year X Average wage per hour)
(10,216,182) x (572 x 20.90) = $122,132,416,160 per YEAR
Or to put it in slightly more sensationalist terms $3,971 per SECOND
Now, seeing as most of the money people earn goes back into the economy in the form of tax and spending, can the U.S government afford to ignore endometriosis in such times of economic uncertainty? It may be worth asking your local representative. Investing more money into treatments and diagnosis for endometriosis is a directive that can be ill ignored by any government.
Now I must point out that these numbers are just estimates based on the information available so don’t go quoting them as fact, the real cost could be lower or higher. Although, as these calculations don’t take into consideration the additional cost of people caring for those with endo, or welfare paid out or the cost to the healthcare system, it is likely to be much higher. Nevertheless it gives us a good idea of what to expect, nearly four thousand dollars a second, tick, tock, tick............