Health: Endometriosis

House of Lords written question – answered on 20th December 2010.

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Photo of Baroness Smith of Basildon Baroness Smith of Basildon Shadow Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change)

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure a greater awareness among members of the public and the medical profession of the symptoms of endometriosis.

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the value of the different types of scans for endometriosis.

To ask Her Majesty's Government what guidance is given to members of the profession about the diagnosis of endometriosis.

Photo of Earl Howe Earl Howe The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

Information about endometriosis for those that have access to the internet is available for the public and healthcare professionals on National Health Service websites including NHS Direct, NHS Choices and NHS Library for Health. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has developed a guideline on the investigation and management of endometriosis for healthcare professionals and an associated patient information leaflet, both of which are available on the RCOG website.

The evidence relating to diagnosis and use of scans in endometriosis is discussed in the RCOG Green-top Guideline. Visual inspection of the pelvis at laparoscopy is the gold standard investigation to diagnose endometriosis. Compared with laparoscopy, transvaginal ultrasound has limited value in diagnosis except for confirming or excluding endometriotic ovarian cysts. There is insufficient evidence to indicate that magnetic resonance imaging is a useful test to diagnose or exclude endometriosis compared with laparoscopy.

Endometriosis is a specific topic within the undergraduate medical curriculum and in core specialist medical training for obstetricians and gynaecologists.

Does this answer the above question?

Yes3 people think so

No14 people think not

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Annotations

ej w
Posted on 27 Dec 2010 8:08 pm (Report this annotation)

I don't think Earl Howe's response answers the original question, since he has outlined what is CURRENTLY done to ensure awareness of this disease and not how the government plans to ensure greater awareness of it in the future.

I downloaded the Green-top Guideline from the RCOG website. I've briefly looked through it and, amoung other bits of information, found this:

" ...there is often a delay of up to 12 years between symptom onset and a definitive diagnosis." (top of page 3).

I speak from experience, and my experience tells me that it's not ok to suffer with endometriosis for this length of time before symptoms are even investigated; the impact on all aspects of life are too great. I know that I also speak for many other british women when I say this.

It's certainly a good thing that this guide exists, along with the patient information leaflets - although you have to be actively be looking for information to find them - but more needs to be done to increase awareness of this disease.