On 6th September NICE published its new guidance for the diagnosis and management of endometriosis.
Professor Andrew Horne appeared on LIVE TV (BBC2’s Victoria Derbyshire) and on BBC Radio One’s Newsbeat to comment on the new guideline and to discuss the impact that the disease can have on women.
Delayed diagnosis is a significant problem for sufferers of endometriosis and the new guidance aims to raise awareness amongst healthcare professionals.
Endometriosis develops when cells normally found in the womb are present elsewhere in the body, such as the bladder or bowel. It is a chronic and long term condition that affects approximately 1 in 10 women of reproductive age in the UK.
On average women wait 7.5 years between first seeing a doctor and getting a confirmed diagnosis of endometriosis, which must be done by performing a laparoscopy. For many this leads to prolonged pain and a progressed condition which is more difficult to treat.
The NICE guideline aims to reduce diagnostic delays by highlighting the symptoms of endometriosis to doctors, such as pelvic pain, painful periods, and subfertility.
With the right endometriosis treatment, many of the issues can be addressed and the symptoms of endometriosis made more manageable. Treatment options available to women with endometriosis are pain relief, hormone treatments and surgery.
Although endometriosis is as common in women as diabetes and asthma, it has failed to attract the same attention, support and funding as those diseases.
Professor Horne said: “The new NICE guideline is incredibly useful for doctors and for patients. It will help direct clinicians how to diagnose and manage endometriosis in a more effective manner.”
Awareness of the disease is on the rise, and it is hoped that funding will increase in future years. Current research being carried out by Andrew Horne at the MRC Centre for Reproductive Health into endometriosis could lead to new drug treatments that will block the development and progression of the often debilitating condition.