Iowa Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer of Dubuque is talking publicly about her struggle with endometriosis and she’s forming a “Caucus” group in the U.S. House to focus attention on the condition that affects an estimated one out of every ten women worldwide.

“It’s time that people across the country know about what this is,” Finkenauer said. “Every day women are pushing through their pain and living through their lives. They are not weak. They are strong.”

Finkenauer gave a speech on the floor of the U.S. House today, describing the painful condition.

“Stabbing in my lower left abdomen and a tight pain, like two fists clenched together in a vice-grip in my lower back,” Finkenauer said. “…I’ve had this most of my adult life and I was luckily diagnosed at a young age, at the early age of 18.”

Finkenauer is now 31. She’s had two surgeries and during a recent flare up Finkeanuer went online to research having a hysterectomy, which would mean she couldn’t have children.

“To be honest with you, I just got frustrated because it shouldn’t be this hard,” Finkenauer said. “It should be more well known and there should be more options for treatment.”

There is no cure for the condition and Finkenauer said she struggled with the idea of revealing she’s been diagnosed with endometriosis.

“I was afraid that people would think I was weak, that I couldn’t do my job, but that’s not true,” Finkenauer said. “…It is not weak to talk about it. In fact, the women who are living with it everyday — they are strong as heck.”

AUDIO of Finkenauer’s remarks

Finkenauer noted March is Endometriosis Awareness Month.

“I know there are so many women hearing this today who may be hearing their pain described for the very first time,” Finkenauer said. “And that’s why I want to make sure that I give a voice to them today and say that it’s okay to talk about this.”

Finkenauer said the bipartisan group she’s forming in the House will seek more federal funding for research into a cure for endometriosis.