Around 1.5 million people in the UK they suffer from endometriosis, a painful and debilitating condition that can affect any aspect of a person’s life.
The condition causes tissue similar to the lining of the uterus to grow elsewhere – including in the ovaries and fallopian tubes – and can lead to severe pelvic or menstrual pain.
Treatments for endometriosis include pain relievers, hormone medications, and birth control, as well as surgery (laparoscopy).
Although a recent small experiment by a possible new endometriosis treatment left researcher feel hopefulThere is still no cure for this condition – and treatments have made little progress since the condition was first recognized in the 1920s.
Here are three reasons why endometriosis care has been slow to improve.
1. Endometriosis is not a major disease
A Investigation of all parliamentary groups in the parliamentary group In treating endometriosis, it was found that there were no significant treatment breakthroughs as endometriosis research was not a priority. Worse, it means we still don’t fully understand what is causing the disease, making it difficult to develop a cure.
Women with symptoms must first see a family doctor for a referral to a specialist for diagnosis and surgical treatment. But more than half of the women must see a general practitioner more than ten times before being referred to a specialist. The UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence urge the family doctors to better prioritize endometriosis for further examinations to speed up diagnoses.
2. Endometriosis is poorly understood
Few people know what endometriosis is. A recent study I co-authored only shows 8% of teenage girls in the UK know about endometriosis.
Our study found too 27% of teenage girls weren’t sure if their periods were “normal”.
This is just as important as many adults with endometriosis did not seek medical help when they were younger because they thought their symptoms – such as excessive menstrual pain or heavy menstrual bleeding – were typical.
It is argued Knowing what typical periods look like can help young women spot signs of endometriosis and seek help sooner. This can also speed up their diagnosis.
Research shows too Stigma surrounding menstruation prevents some women from talking about endometriosis symptoms, even to doctors. Furthermore, the stigma of menstruation across society means that researchers and doctors are doing it less interested The pursuit of endometriosis as a specialty is holding back progress in improving care.
Endometriosis is also often mistakenly thought of as the sole menstrual condition. There are non-menstrual symptoms that even some health professionals have not sufficiently familiar having, including painful urination or bowel movements, non-period pelvic pain, painful intercourse, and fatigue. This often means clinicians Misdiagnosis Endometriosis.
Endometriosis is also not exactly biomedical Models of diseasesThis means that the extent of the disease does not always match the severity of the symptoms.
Some women with endometriosis may have few symptoms but extensive “endo” (tissue), while others have severe pain but a small amount of endo-tissue. In such cases some Women report Doctors have told them that their symptoms cannot be “that bad” as their accounts are considered less credible than what is detected by currently available measures.
This means endometriosis can be misunderstood by health professionals.
Endometriosis occurs when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus is elsewhere, often, but not exclusively, in the pelvis.
This tissue reacts to hormones in the same way as the lining of the uterus, but without exhaust it can cause inflammation, scarring, and adhesions that lead to severe pain and many other symptoms. It can affect many organs.
The classic symptoms of endometriosis are severe pain during or between periods; very long, heavy, and irregular periods; painful bowel movements; Pain in the bladder and pain during or after sex.
Extreme fatigue is very common and fertility can also be affected. Misdiagnosis is common, resulting in delays in accurate diagnosis, unnecessary testing, and sometimes unnecessary surgery.
The only conclusive way to tell if a woman has endometriosis is with a laparoscopy, and excision is widely considered to be the gold standard for treating endometriosis where the disease is excluded.
There is no cure for endometriosis, but the condition is manageable and a timely diagnosis could save women from constant pain many years of life.
3. The accounts of those affected have been fired for decades
In 2001 a colleague of mine interviewed women with endometriosis. She found that health professional trivialized endometriosis symptoms as “typical menstrual pain”.
Almost two decades later, our research found that women are still feeling incredulous and desperate to relieve their symptoms. General practitioners confirm Women come to them “ready for battle” and expect not to be believed or to feel like “everything is on their mind”.
This was a missed opportunity to investigate how this problem could be addressed. The experiences of colored people and the LGBTQ + community were also not adequately taken into account.
Both communities based on existing ones Evidence of Health Inequalities, are more like theirs Symptoms treated badly. In the healthcare system, gender prejudice means that women’s pain is not studied as seriously as men’s. One recently Yale study even showed that girls take pain less seriously than boys.
The battle for endometriosis accounts acceptance is part of a larger, systematic layoff from Women’s experiences with their bodies.
Recent discussions about women’s experiences with sexual harassmentor Meghan Markle’s report on racial prejudice in the media are both examples of women struggling to have their story believed. And if health professionals don’t take women’s accounts seriously, it can lead to delays in diagnosis and ineffective treatments.
Serious consideration of the accounts of endometriosis patients is the linchpin for improving care. For the overdue improvements in the treatment, diagnosis, and care of endometriosis to materialize, we need to believe what endometriosis patients say and prioritize them. Greater awareness and understanding of the condition will help.