In advance of International Women's Day, the government launched a call for evidence for its Women's Health Strategy. Dr Erin Greaves of Warwick Medical School comments on how important it is to address inequalities in women's healthcare, such as in the diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis, which is the subject of her research.
Dr Greaves said: “On International Women’s Day we remember and acknowledge the Suffragettes whose purposeful action got women the vote and improved gender equality across the world. However, inequalities in women’s healthcare remain prevalent but now the Women’s Health Strategy promises to illuminate the true extent of the so-called ‘gender health gap’ in a much needed initiative to expose women’s experiences of healthcare.
“Endometriosis care is one such example where improvement is urgently required. It often takes 7-8 years for a women to be diagnosed with endometriosis, a common disorder that significantly impacts health-related quality of life and is associated with debilitating chronic pelvic pain, fatigue and infertility. The All-Party Political Group inquiry found that that 58% of women visited the GP more than 10 times before diagnosis and 53% went to A&E with extreme symptoms before diagnosis. This is not acceptable. We urgently need to improve awareness of endometriosis and its symptoms amongst primary care settings. We also need to improve awareness amongst women such they can recognize when to seek help.
“We are currently in the middle of the Virtual World Congress on Endometriosis https://endometriosis.ca/world-congress/wce2021/. In the field we are finding more ways to aid the diagnosis of certain subtypes of endometriosis using ultrasound and MRI but we need more specialists with this kind of expertise. There are also certain kinds of endometriosis that cannot be diagnosed by ultrasound, and for those we urgently need to find a biomarker. By improving diagnosis we can start to close the time taken to diagnosis. However, even once diagnosis is achieved it can be difficult to treat endometriosis. The main treatments are currently surgical removal of lesions or hormonal suppression. Both are associated with recurrence of symptoms and unwanted side-effects. There is a distinct lack of new innovative new drugs in the pipeline for the treatment of endometriosis. We urgently need more medical and scientific research in the field of endometriosis.”
8 March 2021
Media Relations Manager (Warwick Medical School and Department of Physics)
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