Endometriosis Awareness Month is a time to raise awareness for the life-changing condition that over half (54 per cent) of women and 74 per cent of men aren’t aware of. Charity Endometriosis UK is calling for the public, healthcare professionals, policymakers, workplaces, and charities to raise awareness of the condition and symptoms.
According to the NHS, endometriosis is a gynaecological condition that affects women of all ages, where tissue similar to the lining of the womb starts to grow in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes. Women experience the condition more frequently during the reproductive cycle.
Research from Endometriosis UK revealed the condition affects one in 10 (1.5 million) women across the UK. 45 per cent of these women are unable to name any of the symptoms, despite it costing the UK economy £8.2 billion each year in treatment, healthcare costs, and loss of work.
The dangerously low rate of public awareness opens women up to potential delayed or misdiagnosis, increasing the risk of infertility and other chronic complications.
According to the NHS, endometriosis symptoms can be mild to severe, including:
- Pain in your lower tummy or back
- Period pain
- Pain during or after sex
- Pain when going to the toilet during your period
- Feeling sick, constipation, diarrhoea, or blood in your pee during your period
- Difficulty getting pregnant
While some women are not affected by symptoms at all, it’s important to check with a GP or medical expert as soon as possible.
Delayed or misdiagnosis
Women with endometriosis can be misdiagnosed due to the illness sharing similar symptoms with other conditions. Commonly misdiagnosed conditions can include:
- Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
- Pelvic Inflammation Disease
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
- Colorectal Cancer
- Metastatic Tumour
- Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
- Painful periods
Research also shows it takes an average of 7.5 years to diagnose a woman with endometriosis, by which time the patient could have developed painful symptoms and the risk of infertility may have increased. Endometriosis has a prevalence of up to 40 per cent in infertile women. This can be exacerbated by the fact that the condition can only be diagnosed by a surgical procedure which must be referred by a GP.
Further complications can also arise when the patient is misdiagnosed and subsequently prescribed inappropriate medical treatment.
Medical experts will always try to give the best treatment possible, but mistakes can happen, particularly with a condition that can be difficult to diagnose.
However, delays or mistakes in diagnosing endometriosis can be serious, particularly when it begins to cause chronic pain or affects fertility.
If you feel like your health has been adversely affected by negligent healthcare, RHL Solicitors expert solicitors are here to help. Our specialist clinical negligence team adopt The Law Society’s ‘No Win, No Fee’ Agreement to cover legal fees and always offer a professional and personal service.