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Endometriosis Survey Findings Show Doctors Aren’t Asking Key Questions

03/17/2017

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By: Mary Ellen Schneider, Ob.Gyn. News

More than 40% of women are unaware that endometriosis may cause dyspareunia, and less than a quarter of physicians and nurse practitioners ask about it, according to the findings of a recent survey.

The survey, conducted by HealthyWomen with support from drug-maker AbbVie, highlights some of the knowledge gaps surrounding endometriosis. They surveyed 1,211 adult women in the United States and 352 health care providers, including ob.gyns, primary care physicians, reproductive endocrinologists, gynecologic specialists, and nurse practitioners.

"The key take-home message for ob.gyns. is that education is critical to help elevate understanding and diagnosis of endometriosis," Beth Battaglino, RN, and CEO of HealthyWomen, said in an interview. "Professionals need to be more aware of evaluating and treating endometriosis, understand its impact on their patients’ daily lives, and support proper communication of symptoms with their patients."

Another symptom that may be going unrecognized, according to the survey, is pelvic pain. Just one-third of the providers surveyed asked patients at each visit if pelvic pain interferes with their daily activities. However, among 260 women who said they had been diagnosed with endometriosis, 86% reported that their condition interferes with daily activities at least some of the time.

The survey also reinforced findings from previous research about delayed diagnosis of endometriosis. Among 260 respondents who identified themselves as diagnosed with endometriosis, 72% reported seeing two or more providers before receiving a diagnosis, and nearly a quarter saw four or more providers.

The survey was conducted online from Dec. 7, 2016, to Feb. 6, 2017.