At last! FEMaLe project study reveals major under-diagnosis of widespread women’s disease.

It has been estimated that up to 10% of all women of childbearing age suffer from endometriosis. However, fewer than 2% receive a diagnosis in Denmark according to major research project at Health – Aarhus University. It was a register-based study that examined the frequency of hospital diagnosed endometriosis from 1990 to 2017.

“The results show that there was an increase in the frequency of diagnosed endometriosis in Denmark between 1990 and 2017. However, the study also shows that there are clear regional differences. This probably means that, in some areas of Denmark, many women may be suffering from the disease without a diagnosis, and therefore they are not getting the necessary treatment,” says Dorte Rytter, Associate Professor in Epidemiology at Aarhus University.

Over the period, the probability of getting a diagnosis for the disease was 13% higher for women living in northern Jutland compared with women living in eastern Jutland. The probability was even lower for women in the rest of the country.

Absence of a diagnosis for the remaining women can have severe consequences and lead to worsening of the disease, explains Dorte: “Endometriosis is a highly under-diagnosed disease, and many women live with symptoms for many years before they get a diagnosis. The symptoms can be severely debilitating for some women, and may lead to severely reduced quality of life and work capacity.”

Dorte hopes that this study will help raise awareness about the symptoms of endometriosis and the importance of quicker and more equal diagnosis. Results are also important knowledge for politicians and decision-makers who can help to put right the regional inequalities in diagnosis.

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