4 September 2019

New endometriosis report raises awareness about this common, yet under-recognised condition

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IVF Australia

IVFAustralia welcomes a newly published endometriosis report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) as it helps raise awareness about this common, but under-recognised condition.

The report is important as it’s the first national endometriosis report about this widespread and often painful condition affecting women of reproductive age, especially women over 30 who have not yet had children.

The report shows that:

  • 1 in 9 Australian women aged 40–44 have endometriosis.
  •  Affecting 7% of women aged 25–29 and 11% of women aged 40–44

Associate Professor Peter Illingworth Medical Director, IVFAustralia said the numbers are high but wants to reassure women that endometriosis can be managed throughout your reproductive life.  

“Endometriosis can impact women’s lives in many ways causing physical pain and emotional stress. The report includes the most recent estimates on endometriosis-related hospital admissions, demonstrating the severity of this crippling condition,” said A/Prof Illingworth.

The report data shows there were around 34,000 endometriosis-related hospitalisations, 95% of which involved at least 1 procedure.

Dr Manny Mangat is a fertility specialist with IVFAustralia and one of two fertility specialists on the recently established Multi-disciplinary Endometriosis Research Committee (MERC) in Sydney.

The MERC comprises endometriosis surgeons (gynaecologists), colorectal surgeons, anaesthetists, endocrinologists, nurses, counsellors and pain specialists. They have joined, with Ramsay Health, to aid further research in the area as well as focus on providing holistic care, especially for complex endometriosis cases via collaboration and case discussion.

Dr Mangat said endometriosis may cause pain, intercourse pain, heavy menstrual bleeding, spotting before and between periods and bowel disturbance, it can also impact women’s fertility.

“Severe degrees of endometriosis will have an impact on your ability to conceive naturally. We therefore encourage women who are concerned about any of their symptoms to speak to their doctor,” said Dr Mangat.

“Fortunately there are many treatments for endometriosis, including pain medication, exercise and living a healthy lifestyle for mild endometriosis, through to hormonal medication and laparoscopic excision surgery for severe cases.

“Diagnosis in your early twenties and thirties means the gynaecological impacts can be managed and then long term plans for fertility and lifestyle management can be provided.

“The appropriate treatment whether medical or surgical takes into consideration the patient’s symptoms, egg reserve, as well as when fertility is desired.

“A woman with endometriosis can go on to have a family on her own, or with some fertility support. Difficulty becoming pregnant is increased with a diagnosis of endometriosis. However many women, especially with milder levels of the disease will have little problem. Less often treatment with IUI or IVF may be required, especially for higher level disease,” explains Dr Mangat.

If you are struggling with the symptoms of endometriosis including pelvic pain, painful periods, pain during intercourse and bleeding between periods or have been diagnosed with endo and have been trying to start a family without success, contact your doctor or one of the fertility specialist at IVFAustralia on 1800 111 483. that in the long run, the outcomes are essentially good,” said Professor Illingworth.