Is the pain associated with your period? It’s a simple question that many hardly ever ask. And it is one of the reasons why there is such a long delay in endometriosis diagnosis.
“If doctors ask that question from the get-go,” says Dr. Seckin, “women can receive the right treatment very early before endometriosis disrupts the capacity and function of many organs”.
Yet endometriosis diagnosis and treatment, while more prevalent now than ever before, face countless obstacles, many a result of inadequate awareness efforts among the public and the medical community.
Noemie Elhadad, our scientific member, speaks out about the unsettling reality of misdiagnosis among endometriosis patients.
“There’s a lot of evidence now of gender bias in healthcare, where women, in general, are not being heard when they talk about their symptoms”. But with endometriosis, I think it’s a little bit worse because we’re talking about symptoms that have to do with periods and vague symptoms like pain and fatigue so there’s this very strong feeling amongst the patients of doctors not hearing them, no matter what”.
Conflating endometriosis and IBS as a reason for the delay in endometriosis diagnosis
But gender bias is only one way in which endometriosis remains largely undiagnosed and mistreated. There are other obstacles preventing proper diagnosis and care. For Camellia Hartman, it took eight years to find a doctor that listened and was able to make a diagnosis. For many patients, IBS seems to be a significant component of misdiagnosis. It might appear that the two diseases share similar symptoms.
“Inflammation is outside the bowel, affecting the bowel in an indirect way” explains Dr. Seckin.
Conflating endometriosis and IBS means rampant misdiagnosis and delayed treatment for patients suffering from the disease.