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Endometriosis often misdiagnosed

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand, Oct 12, 2005 (UPI via COMTEX) -- Scientists at New Zealand's Massey University are calling for greater awareness of endometriosis and development of pain management services for sufferers.

The scientists say they found many women with endometriosis had to wait as long as 10 years for the painful gynecological condition to be diagnosed.

Endometriosis occurs when cells normally found in the uterus lodge in other parts of the body, where they can cause heavy bleeding, pain and fertility problems.

One researcher, Professor Annette Huntington, said general practitioners often told patients they were suffering such conditions as irritable bowel syndrome. But she said once the women were referred to a gynecologist, endometriosis was promptly diagnosed.

One unidentified woman, misdiagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, said she raised the issue of endometriosis after her husband recognized the symptoms in a magazine article he was reading in the doctor's office.

"That's when we asked and (the doctor) said, 'Oh yeah, it could be'," she told the researchers.

"This raises issues about the awareness and knowledge of this very commonly experienced condition among primary healthcare professionals," said Huntington.

The study is detailed in the latest issue of the Journal of Clinical Nursing.


Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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