On 10 February 2020, the government launched a new inquiry into the impact of Endometriosis. The aim of this inquiry is to establish the challenges those with Endometriosis face and the steps that can be taken to improve the standard of care.
Patients were advised to fill in a survey, which will be used in conjunction with evidence gathered through hearings in March, to compile a report in July 2020. Here, we’ll look at why this new inquiry is important and the current diagnosis and treatment options available for Endometriosis.
Why is this new inquiry important?
The importance of this new inquiry into the diagnosis and treatment of Endometriosis becomes apparent when you take a look at the statistics.
The condition is said to affect 1 in 10 women within the UK. However, despite how common it is, statistics show that it takes an average of seven years to get a diagnosis. Considering how severe symptoms can be, this is a shocking statistic and the government is now hoping to improve the rate of Endometriosis diagnosis and the treatments available.
The reasons behind the poor diagnostic rate are said to be down to two main factors. Firstly, the symptoms associated with Endometriosis are similar to those developed due to other conditions. The other reason is said to be down to assumptions placed on female health.
Many GPs are said to be unaware of what normal menstrual pain is, making it difficult for them to determine whether a patient does have Endometriosis or standard period pain.
There was a report carried out a couple of years ago by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), which highlighted 42% of women said they felt they hadn’t been treated with respect and dignity. They felt that women’s symptoms were often dismissed by GPs.
Agreeing that seven years is far too long to receive an accurate diagnosis, MPs are now carrying out an inquiry to further investigate the issues. The APPG will lead the inquiry, with the hope they can identify the steps which need to be taken to resolve the issues presented.
How is Endometriosis diagnosed?
A laparoscopy is the only way to currently diagnose Endometriosis. This involves placing a small camera into the pelvis close to the naval. The surgeon then looks for signs of the condition in the pelvic area. If it is discovered, the surgeon may treat the problem right away or carry out further investigation.
The Endometriosis diagnosis is difficult due to how similar the symptoms are to other conditions. Blood tests, scans and internal examination isn’t known to be a conclusive way to diagnose the condition either. For this reason, it is important for patients to share as much information about their symptoms as possible.
Although scans aren’t a conclusive way to diagnose Endometriosis, they can still prove useful to determine whether there is an issue. Therefore, patients are advised to undergo a women’s health scan if they suspect the condition is responsible for their symptoms.
This new inquiry provides hope that better diagnosis and treatment will become available for women suffering with Endometriosis. In the meantime, documenting symptoms and requesting a laparoscopy is the only real way to receive an accurate diagnosis.