News & Information
At Surrey Gynaecology we make every effort to keep abreast of the latest developments in medical science and technology as well as being up-to-date with general news around gynacological matters, hormones and the menopause. Here are some items of interest:
Women with severe period pains should be checked for endometriosis
Women suffering period pain should be checked for signs of endometriosis, amid concerns GPs are missing too many cases of the womb condition, watchdogs say.
New NHS guidance says patients are waiting an average of seven and a half years for a diagnosis, during which time the painful disorder becomes harder to treat.
Around one in 10 women of reproductive age are estimated to suffer from the condition, which can damage fertility.
Symptoms include chronic pelvic discomfort, extremely painful periods and pain during bowel movements or during or after sex.
Endometriosis symptoms checker
Many women have no obvious symptoms, while others have widely varying symptoms.The most common include:
- Painful or heavy periods
- Pain in the abdomen, pelvis or lower back
- Pain during and after sex
- Bleeding between periods
- Difficulty in getting pregnant
- Pain between the hips and the tops of the legs
Less common symptoms:
- Tiredness and exhaustion
- Discomfort going to the loo
- Bleeding from the rectum
- Coughing blood (rare)
Source: NHS Choices
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, parts of the stomach and bladder or bowel.
In the new guidance, doctors are told to consider endometriosis in women reporting even just one symptom, such as pelvic pain or period pains which are bad enough to affect daily activities or quality of life. It also suggests a number of ways of helping to diagnose the condition, such as ultrasound and laparascopy. The guidance says endometriosis should not be excluded even if abdominal or pelvic examinations or ultrasound or MRI are normal.
Painkillers can be prescribed to relieve symptoms, while some women will be helped by taking the contraceptive pill, or by surgery to remove excess tissue.
In March, the All Parliamentary Group on Women’s Health said 40 per cent of more than 2,600 women who gave evidence to it reported they had seen a doctor 10 times before being diagnosed.
Professor Mark Baker, director of the centre for guidelines at 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.”
Caroline Overton, chairwoman of the guideline committee and a consultant gynaecologist, said: “There is no cure for endometriosis, so helping affected women manage their symptoms is imperative.”
By Laura Donnelly, Health Editor