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Photo: Victor Gårdsäter

This Stockholm company puts women’s health front and centre

The impact makers of Stockholm. By Invest Stockholm

Endometriosis is a painful condition in which tissue similar to the lining of the womb grows outside of the uterus. It affects an estimated 1 out of 10 reproductive age people and yet still takes an average of 7.5 years to get a diagnosis.

This delay in a diagnosis can result in sufferers living through years of excruciating periods without adequate support or medication. Moreover, even those who have been diagnosed are often undertreated and therefore dealing with unnecessary pain.

It’s here that Endometrix steps in. The symptom-tracking app enables sufferers to document and visualise their pain so they can better communicate their healthcare needs. Within the app is also a growing library of information and self-care programs designed to help them manage their pain more effectively without the use of medication.

“Humans have this amazing ability to forget pain. We want to give them a way to track the pain and identify trends,” says Endometrix co-founder Mitchell Isakka. “You don’t necessarily need to have already been diagnosed to find the app useful. Getting diagnosed is usually a very lengthy process and people are suffering a lot. We want to offer them solutions they might not have tried before.”

Creating better awareness of endometriosis

Launched in July 2020, Endometrix is the culmination of two-and-a-half years of research, prototyping, and iteration. Founded by design thinking experts Moa Felicia Linder and Sushrut Shastri, the pair set out to ease the pain and frustration felt by millions of endometriosis sufferers around the world.

They knew something had to be done, but first wanted to hear from those affected themselves. Thirty people affected by endometriosis were invited to two focus groups, from which Moa and Sushrut were able to gather over 700 insights. From there, they narrowed down the insights to establish common themes and identify a possible solution.

Mitchell knew Sushrut from his days studying bio-entrepreneurship at Karolinska Institutet, and the two had previously discussed their mutual interest in founding an impactful business. And so when Sushrut invited Mitchell to join the venture, he didn’t need to be asked twice.

“I was blown away by the amount of work they’d already done and also how big of a problem it was,” says Mitchell, who had previously worked as a registered nurse in his native Australia. “It affects one in ten people with a uterus. It’s so common! How can it be so common and there’s so little awareness about it?”

Based on Mitchell’s experience working within the healthcare field, he knew the app needed to be useful for healthcare professionals as well as for the users. A calendar feature visualising the user’s pain allows the clinician to easily scroll through several months of history. Previously, they would have had to read a diary which may not accurately record or reflect the severity of the pain.

Clinicians can be a tough crowd but Endometrix has been well received, Mitchell says, with many healthcare professionals praising this much-needed solution.

“Clinicians who are interested in endometriosis understand how big of a problem it is, how much room there is for improvement, and how much something like this is needed. So we’ve had very positive feedback from them for the most part.”

With a thousand active monthly users and growing, Endometrix provides a unique opportunity to gather comprehensive insights about endometriosis. Mitchell is hopeful that the app can accelerate the speed at which women receive a diagnosis, and that in the future the data can be used to find more effective ways to manage this frequently undertreated disease.

“We hope to create better awareness of endometriosis and significantly decrease the time it takes to get a diagnosis. At the same time, we want to contribute as much data and research about the disease as we can.”