Medicine: The Career Woman's Disease?

Endometriosis may afflict as many as 10 million in the U.S.

Each month K.C. Esperance, 31, a San Francisco nurse practitioner, suffered menstrual cramps so agonizing that she would take to her bed, curl up and pray that she would live through the next couple of days. Doctor after doctor gave her the same ineffectual advice: rest, take some codeine and bear with it.

During her teens, Maria Menna Perper, 42, a New Jersey biochemist, suffered intestinal problems around the time of her period. By her late 30s, she felt "excruciating, burning pain" in her colon every month "like clockwork." Eventually the pain became continuous, and it was impossible for her to...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!