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Women in UK waiting almost nine years for endometriosis diagnosis, study finds

Women are waiting nearly nine years for an endometriosis diagnosis in the UK, according to research that found health professionals often minimise or dismiss symptoms.

The study by the charity Endometriosis UK suggests waiting times for a diagnosis have significantly deteriorated in the past three years, increasing to an average of eight years and 10 months, up 10 months since 2020. In Scotland, the average diagnosis time has increased by four months.

The report, based on a survey of 4,371 people who have received a diagnosis, shows that 47% of respondents had visited their GP 10 or more times with symptoms before being diagnosed, and 70% had visited five times or more.

The chief executive of Endometriosis UK, Emma Cox, said: “Taking almost nine years to get a diagnosis of endometriosis is unacceptable. Our finding that it now takes even longer to get a diagnosis of endometriosis must be a wake-up call to decision-makers to stop minimising or ignoring the significant impact endometriosis can have on both physical and mental health.”

The report includes examples of patients’ experiences, with many being told that their pain was “normal”.

One said: “I was constantly dismissed, ignored and belittled by medical professionals telling me that my symptoms were simply due to stress and tiredness. I persevered for over 10 years desperate for help.” Another said she had been told she was “being dramatic” after going to her GP as a teenager with painful periods. Another said: “A&E nurses told me that everyone has period pain so take paracetamol and go home.”

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Source: The Guardian, 4 March 2024


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