Endometriosis: Greek expert tells us how many years it takes for a woman to be diagnosed

Endometriosis

What is endometriosis and why is it so difficult to diagnose? Here are the ten most important points regarding the second most common gynecological condition.

Did you know that it takes about 7.5 years for a woman to be diagnosed with endometriosis? This gynecological condition is associated with a lot of information but also misinformation.

1. It is the second most common gynecological condition and affects up to 10 percent of the world's female population of reproductive age.

2. It is characterised by the growth of ectopic endometrial tissue (the inner part of the uterus that falls out during menstruation) in other parts of the body, mainly in the pelvis, ovaries and fallopian tubes; of course, it can affect any part of the body even the skin.

3. The main symptoms reported by patients include dysmenorrhea (severe pain during periods), dyspareunia (pain during intercourse), pain during urination and defecation. The symptoms vary as there are women who do not present any problems at all.

4. The cause of endometriosis has not been clarified. Some blame cells that migrate through the fallopian tubes during menstruation.

5. Endometriosis affects fertility. Surgical removal of the pelvic foci and reduction of the extent of the disease can significantly improve fertility.

6. For some patients, it can be a chronic disease that affects their quality of life, their mental health and their interpersonal relationships.

7. The diagnosis of the disease, as mentioned above, can take up to years as it is characterised by a variety of symptoms that can disorient the doctor as they are non-specific, such as chronic pain in the abdomen with the result that other pathologies must be ruled out first, e.g. from the gut.

8. The diagnosis is made through laparoscopy, during which the foci are identified macroscopically and confirmed in a pathology laboratory.

9. Treatment for endometriosis currently does not exist, but some measures can improve the symptoms, such as anti-inflammatory preparations, placement of a hormonal coil (spiral), and administration of the contraceptive pill.

10. Many women report symptom improvement after making lifestyle changes through gentle exercise and eating a balanced, healthy diet.

Meet the Specialist

By Eleni Louri, MD MSc, an Obstetrician-Gynecologist, Scientific Associate at the 3rd Obstetrics-Gynecology Clinic, Hippocrates Hospital, AUTH. Translated by Paul Antonopoulos.

READ MORE: Gallstones: A Greek expert explains the complications and treatment.

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