Endometriosis diagnosis could soon be much easier, thanks to a new imaging study. Currently, patients are being left to suffer due to an inadequate and slow diagnosis. On average, it is estimated that it takes women 8 years to get diagnosed for the condition.
So, what is the new imaging study hoping to reveal and how might it help lead to a faster, more accurate diagnosis?
Understanding the latest study
The latest study is being carried out by researchers at the University of Oxford, alongside Serac Healthcare Ltd. The goal is to come up with a faster diagnosis process for endometriosis.
A 20-minute imaging scan will be investigated to determine if it can detect common types of the condition. At the moment, surgery is the only way to properly diagnose endometriosis, so if the imaging test proves to be effective it would be a huge benefit for patients.
An experimental imaging marker will be used that is known to bind to parts of inflammation in the body. This will allow the researchers to get a visualisation of the disease on a scan. The marker, known as ⁹⁹ᵐTc maraciclatide, has already been used to successfully identify inflammatory conditions such as Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Somewhere between 2-7 days before participants are due to undergo surgery for suspected cases of the condition, they will be invited for an imaging scan. The researchers will then compare the locations of the disease on the scan to the results found during surgery. This will reveal whether an imaging test could be a faster alternative to surgery to make a diagnosis.
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a painful disorder that affects approximately 1.5 million women in the UK, or 1 in 10. Tissue that is similar to the womb lining, begins to grow outside of the uterus. In extreme cases, it can cause nearby organs to fuse together, leading to extreme pain and discomfort. However, most of the time it grows in the ovaries and fallopian tubes.
Common symptoms of the condition include:
- Pain in the lower abdomen or back
- Pain after or during sex
- Trouble getting pregnant
- Abnormal period pain that prevents you from carrying out daily activities
- Constipation or diarrhoea
The symptoms of the condition can be mild or severe, and they can greatly reduce quality of life.
Getting an accurate endometriosis diagnosis
There are a few reasons why endometriosis diagnosis can be difficult. The symptoms of the condition can relate to a wide range of other issues.
The best way for patients to receive an accurate and timely diagnosis is to get checked over by professionals. Women’s health specialists such as SureScan can provide high-quality consultant-led care. Our friendly expert consultant gynaecologists know exactly what to look out for and they have a greater understanding of a wide range of women’s health conditions, including endometriosis.
Book a consultation now to receive a comprehensive check-up.