Early diagnosis of endometriosis important to fertility

The diagnosis of endometriosis, a common factor in infertility is often delayed or missed increasing the risk that it can become a factor in one’s fertility.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) issued new guidelines advising physicians to suspect endometriosis in women, including those under the age of 17, “presenting one or more signs of the condition and should not rule out a diagnosis even if abdominal or pelvic examinations are normal.” NICE warned that women can sometimes wait up to 10 years before being diagnosed with the condition and that can have a “huge impact on quality of life.” NICE also advises healthcare professionals to provide information on treatments to relieve symptoms, including hormonal contraceptives.

About 1 in 10 women have endometriosis, in which the tissue (endometrium) normally lining the womb (or uterus) is found on organs outside the uterus. It can lead to severe symptoms including painful periods, pelvic pain, pain during sex and difficulties in getting pregnant especially if not treated early and effectively.

The guidelines state that doctors should suspect endometriosis in women (including those aged 17 and under) presenting one or more signs of the condition and should not rule out a diagnosis even if abdominal or pelvic examinations are normal.

NICE also advises healthcare professionals to provide clear information on treatment to relieve symptoms, such as hormonal contraceptives to prevent the progression of the disease.

The signs of endometriosis include:

Chronic pelvic pain
Period-related pain affecting daily activities and quality of life
Deep pain during or after sexual intercourse
Period-related or cyclical gastrointestinal symptoms, in particular, painful bowel movements
Period-related or cyclical urinary symptoms, in particular, blood in the urine or pain passing urine
Infertility in association with 1 or more of the above.

Whether you are trying to conceive or not, if you feel your general doctor is not taking your problems seriously, we recommend a second opinion with an OB/GYN or reproductive endocrrinologist.

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