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Fertil Steril. 2009 Jan;91(1):32-9. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2007.11.020. Epub 2008 Mar 25.

Diagnostic experience among 4,334 women reporting surgically diagnosed endometriosis.

Author information

1
Reproductive Biology and Medicine Branch, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-1871, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine whether first physician seen and symptoms beginning in adolescence have an impact on the diagnostic experience of endometriosis.

DESIGN:

Cross-sectional study of self-reported survey data.

SETTING:

Academic research.

PATIENT(S):

Four thousand three hundred thirty-four Endometriosis Association Survey respondents reporting surgical diagnosis of endometriosis.

INTERVENTION(S):

None.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S):

Specialty of first physician seen, timing of onset of symptoms, time to seeking medical care and to diagnosis, number of physicians seen, and satisfaction with care.

RESULT(S):

Almost all respondents reported pelvic pain. Fifty percent first saw a gynecologist and 45% saw a generalist for symptoms related to endometriosis. Two thirds reported symptoms beginning during adolescence; they waited longer to seek medical care than adults did. Those seeing a generalist first took longest to get diagnosed; those seeing a gynecologist first saw fewer physicians. Sometime before diagnosis, 63% were told nothing was wrong with them.

CONCLUSION(S):

Women and girls who reported seeing a gynecologist first for symptoms related to endometriosis were more likely to have a shorter time to diagnosis, to see fewer physicians, and to report a better experience overall with their physicians. The majority reported symptoms beginning during adolescence, also reporting a longer time and worse experience while obtaining a diagnosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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