March is Endometriosis Awareness Month in Australia and one Coast-based medical industry expert is hoping to end the stigma attached to the condition.

Amelia Dickison, who is the director and co-founder of telehealth patient monitoring program CaptureCare, as well as the director and founder of medical sales and marketing agency Mana Medical, says endometriosis can greatly detract from women’s well-being. 

According to Endometriosis Australia, more than 11 per cent of Australian women suffer from the disease at some point in their life, often starting in teenagers. 

“On average, it takes approximately seven years to be diagnosed with endometriosis after the commencement of symptoms,” Amelia says. “Symptoms associated with endometriosis such as pain, inflammation and heavy bleeding can negatively affect a woman’s quality of life and ability to work.”

The condition is usually caused when the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus (the endometrium) grows outside the uterus. This can involve the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bowel and bladder. Each month, during the menstrual cycle, the endometrial tissue outside the uterus continues to behave in the same way as it did within the uterus by shedding and bleeding. This can cause severe pain and bloating, as well as bowel and bladder problems. 

For many women the symptoms may be managed using hormones, analgesics and anti-inflammatories. Treatment often involves removing the endometrial tissue surgically, and for severe cases a hysterectomy may be necessary. But Amelia says there are new options available to sufferers. 

“Medicinal cannabis is an emerging treatment option for endometriosis and clinical trials in this area are promising,” she says. “The great thing about this treatment option is that it can act as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory while also addressing anxiety and depression. It’s a fascinating and exciting area to work in.”

The medical industry is not an area the 45-year-old mother-of-two seemed destined for as a child.

“My mum is a screenwriter and playwright, and my father directs plays, operas and musicals,” Amelia says. “Of course, my parents desperately wanted me to become an actress and/or musician, and so I had singing, music and elocution lessons during my childhood, and attended live theatre on a very regular basis. Unfortunately my acting skills were not as good as everyone hoped for!

“In high school I developed a passion for the science subjects, which led me to studying science at the University of Adelaide. I still wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do with my life and I deferred my degree to spend a year living in Brazil on student exchange, and so speak Portuguese. After I graduated from my science degree I lived in Canada for a year, working for a nursing agency and attempting to learn how to ski. 

“I feel life experience – exposing kids to new ideas, cultures, ways of living, languages, religions, ways of thinking, viewing the world – is just as, if not more, important than a solid education. Kids are then able to better formulate their own unique morals and values as a young adult.

“While I loved studying science, I always knew I was too outgoing and social to spend my days working in a laboratory. With this in mind, on returning to Australia I was successful in my application for a role as a pharmaceutical medical sales representative. 

“This was the start of my 20-plus years working in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries within sales, marketing, business development and training. I gained valuable experience working within very complex and life-changing disease states and conditions including oncology, IVF and women’s health, mental health, pain management and – for the last three years – the emerging medicinal cannabis market.”

Amelia says she started her own businesses so she could better help patients and medical experts alike navigate the healthcare industry. 

“During my career there were a number of times when I didn’t feel like I fit in to the ‘employee’ model,” she says. “I would constantly come up with ideas on how to motivate the sales teams, how to support the patients and doctors better, and how to generate more revenue for the business, but I was told to ‘stay inside my square’. I soon realised that the best way I can help the patients and doctors was to work for myself. Four weeks before I gave birth to my daughter I started Mana Medical, then stared CaptureCare at the beginning of 2021.” 

Now, on top of helping patients and doctors, Amelia is also looking at creating her own charitable organisation to help victims of abuse.

“By the end of the year my team and I are going to create the CaptureCare Foundation, where 10 per cent of profits go towards offering free legal support to women undergoing sexual and domestic violence,” she says. “Mental, emotional, physically, financial, and sexual abuse of women and their children occurs all over Australia however since I moved to the Sunshine Coast I have had a significant number of women tell me their horrific stories of abuse, which has motivated me even more to support them. 

“I have noticed a lot of people seem to bury their heads in the sand when it comes to speaking out against the abuse, however if we continue to do this then the perpetrators will just continue the abuse. Nothing will ever change. With the CaptureCare Foundation I can contribute in some way to making the lives of abused women and their children better.”

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