“New guidelines could help millions of women struggling with endometriosis” – Miriam Stoppard

Endometriosis causes debilitating pain that many women silently suffer from, says Dr. Miriam Stoppard, but new clinical work will bring better understanding to help patients and healthcare professionals

Endometriosis occurs when cysts in the lining of the uterus grow outside the uterus
Endometriosis occurs when cysts in the lining of the uterus grow outside the uterus

Scientists at University College London have developed new guidelines to support better diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis – a chronic condition that causes severe pelvic pain and reduces fertility in millions of women worldwide.

The impact on physical, mental and social well-being could be great, and many women who suffer monthly from debilitating pain will breathe a sigh of relief.

Endometriosis occurs when cysts in the lining of the womb grow outside the womb and “menstruate” every month, causing swelling, pain, and inflammation.

Professor Ertan Saridogan from UCL has been working with the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) and other members of the Guideline Development Group since 2003.

He says: “New clinical guidelines mean better support and treatment for millions of women living with endometriosis who are not getting the attention they deserve.

“This new work expands on important topics such as clinical evidence in adolescents and postmenopausal women. It also describes the diagnostic process, challenges current laparoscopy and histology used as the general gold standard for diagnostic testing, and evaluates surgical, medical, and non-pharmacological treatments.”

Sounds good.

For the past two years, the Guideline Development Group – a collaboration of endometriosis specialists, pain specialists and other European medical and epidemiological experts and patient advocates – has been led by Professor Christian Becker of the University of Oxford. He says: “Endometriosis is a very common but still grossly underrepresented disease with often devastating consequences for patients and their families.

“Together with my colleagues, we hope that the new ESHRE guidelines for endometriosis will help both patients and healthcare professionals make decisions and understand the disease.”

This wide-ranging collaboration contributed to the creation of the new ESHRE guideline, which includes 109 recommendations on diagnosis, management of pain and infertility, treatment of recurrent disease, extrapelvic disorders, endometriosis in adolescent and postmenopausal women, prevention, and the association with cancer.

Kathleen King, Irish advocate for endometriosis and patient advocate on the guideline development group, added: “I welcome the release of the current ESHRE guidelines for endometriosis. The collaborative process, involving patient advocates and healthcare professionals, has produced a document that will become an essential part of the toolkit for people living with endometriosis symptoms.

“Patients can feel confident using guidelines to open conversations with healthcare professionals, and their medical team in turn has guidance based on current best practices and scientific information. I encourage all interested parties to take full advantage of the guidelines.” Over time.

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