What is Endometriosis and how does it impact those with the condition?
The time from onset of symptoms to diagnosis of Endometriosis can be significant and cause great disruption and difficulty to daily life.
A cohort study (2003) of Brazilian women found that on average it takes 7.5 years for women to receive a diagnosis of Endometriosis. Earlier studies in the UK and USA found the period between symptoms emerging and diagnosis to range between 3.1 and 12 years.
Even as early as the late 1990s, greater understanding of Endometriosis through increasing research was improving diagnosis times.
A 1997 study by WP Dmowski found that in the 15 years preceding the study, diagnostic delay steadily decreased and rates of advanced endometriosis at first diagnosis had declined as the condition was caught earlier.
Despite improving rates of diagnosis in Endometriosis, women reporting pain still experienced longer diagnosis delays than others.
In women presenting with pain symptoms however, diagnosis delay remained longer than in women reporting other symptoms, suggesting that medical practitioners were less likely to take reproductive pain seriously.
Endometriosis is a chronic and debilitating condition, causing heavy and / or painful periods.
The condition causes significant impact to daily life and long term health, including chronic pain, depression and isolation, fatigue, problems with sex life (including painful intercourse), infertility, and difficulty fulfilling work and social commitments.
Treatment options for Endometriosis include pain relief, hormones, and / or surgery.
Many women find the options available to have mixed efficacy and sometimes side effects that severely impact on daily life, including fatigue, mood disorders, and still experiencing discomfort that reduces capacity to work.
Previously the condition was commonly treated by the removal of the uterus and ovaries.
Description: experts are now moving towards more targeted approaches, including removal of impacted tissue. Surgery is still an option, but highly invasive procedures are becoming less common.
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Endometriosis is the name given to the condition where cells like those the lining of the womb (uterus) are found elsewhere in the body.
Each month these cells react in the same way to those in the womb, building up and then breaking down and bleeding. Unlike the cells in the womb that leave the body as a period, this blood has no way to escape.
In women with infertility, the rates of Endometriosis rise to between 30-50%.
A 2009 study by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine determined that the prevalence of endometriosis in infertile women was 47% (104/221), including stage I (39%, 41/104), stage II (24%, 25/104), stage III (14%, 15/104), and stage IV (23%, 23/104) endometriosis.