Health watchdogs have said that too many cases of endometriosis are going undiagnosed by GPs.

 

They say endometriosis must be considered by doctors when female patients are experiencing period pain that disrupts daily life.

 

New NHS guidelines say patients are waiting an average of seven-and-a-half years before they are diagnosed. The condition becomes harder to treat as time goes on.

 

Endometriosis occurs when tissue that behaves like the lining of the womb is found in other parts of the body. This lining can start to cover the ovaries, fallopian tubes, as well as parts of the stomach and bladder or bowel.

 

Symptoms include painful or heavy periods, pain in the abdomen and back, pain during and after sex, bleeding in between periods, and difficulty conceiving.

 

 

According to The Telegraph, new guidance issued by the NHS advises doctors to investigate the possibility of endometriosis when a patient presents even with one symptom such as severe period pain or severe pelvic pain.

 

It also recommends utilising ultrasounds and laparoscopies, to investigate the symptoms further if needed.

 

The news comes following an investigation into endometriosis diagnoses by the All Parliamentary Group on Women's Health earlier this year.

 

During a survey of more than 2,600 women, 40 percent of those who gave evidence reported that they had seen a doctor 10 times before being diagnosed.

 

The report, Informed Choice? Giving women control of their healthcare, was compiled by the group, who were concerned about how patients with endometriosis and fibroids were being treated by doctors. 

 

The results indicate that hundreds of women had their symptoms dismissed as PMS, and were unable to access proper guidance and treatment. 

 

 

42 percent said they did not feel they had been treated with “dignity and respect” by doctors.

 

Meanwhile, 62 percent of sufferers were not satisfied with the information they received about treatment options for endometriosis and fibroids.

 

Almost 50 percent of women with endometriosis and fibroids were not told about the short-term or long-term complications from the treatment options provided.

 

Speaking about the new recommendations, Professor Mark Baker, Director of the Centre for Guidelines at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), said: "Delayed diagnosis is a significant problem for many women, with endometriosis leading them to years of unnecessary distress and suffering.

 

"The condition is difficult to diagnose, as symptoms vary and are often unspecific.

 

"However, once it has been diagnosed, there are effective treatments available that can ease women's symptoms.”

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