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Self-reporting could improve endometriosis diagnoses and symptom management

Women in the United States go undiagnosed with endometriosis for an average of 10 years before receiving a proper diagnosis. Self-reported screening may be the answer, according to a poster presentation at the Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health (NPWH) 25th Annual Conference in Houston, Texas from September 28 to October 2022.

Self-reported screening forms may be the key to improving average diagnostic time of endometriosis—10 years—according to a recent poster presentation at the ­NPWH's 25th Annual Premier Women's Healthcare Conference held in Houston, Texas, from September 29 to October 2, 2022.

The poster outlined results from the researchers’ quality improvement project. The purpose of the project was to create and execute an evidence-based screening protocol for endometriosis in a gynecological setting, which had 2 primary goals: increase endometriosis diagnosis via laparoscopy by 20% and identify symptoms prior to 10 years of onset.1

Modeled after National Institute for Health and Care guidelines, the research team developed a self-reported screening questionnaire, which was ultimately given to 911 women. It was distributed to women ages 18 to 49 at their annual exams or during visits with symptoms of dysmenorrhea, dyspareunia, abdominal and/or pelvic pain.

The completed questionnaires were then organized by negative, suspicious, or positive, with the use of a screening scale and/or at the discretion of the medical provider.

More than 140 women were suspicious of endometriosis and 65 were confirmed with surgical laparoscopy. Researchers also used the paired t-test to compare pre- and post-project lasers, which showed a significant increase (P=0.42). The number of lasers performed had increased by 25% from 2020 and 2021. The screening questionnaire also resulted in diagnoses before the average 10 years for 76.6% of patients.

This method of screening, they said, allowed for patient verbalization that revealed previous dismissal of symptoms, and signify a need for standardized screening protocol. The self-reported screening method was ultimately successful in increasing timely identification of endometriosis, but the authors suggest its use should be trialed in other gynecological offices. These results, they concluded, may lead to an acceleration of endometriosis diagnoses, and improve medical management going forward.

Reference

  1. King S, Peterson C, Adams K. Reliable Evidence-Based Protocol for Endometriosis. Poster presented at: 25th Annual Premier Women's Healthcare Conference. Houston, Texas. September 29 to October 2, 2022.