Throughout March 2021, which is Endometriosis Awareness Month, we shared blogs that include relevant Cochrane Reviews are systematic reviews. In systematic reviews we search for and summarize studies that answer a specific research question (e.g. is paracetamol effective and safe for treating back pain?). The studies are identified, assessed, and summarized by using a systematic and predefined approach. They inform recommendations for healthcare and research. and other information to help inform people’s decisions about endometriosis diagnosis and Something done with the aim of improving health or relieving suffering. For example, medicines, surgery, psychological and physical therapies, diet and exercise changes.. The series also included live Question and Answer sessions on Twitter, and people submitted questions on social media to a panel of experts, using #MyEndometriosisQuestion and tagging @CochraneUK and @CochraneCGF.
In this first blog, Dr James Duffy, Cochrane Gynaecology and Fertility editor, Martin Hirsch, a Consultant Gynaecologist at Oxford University Hospitals, and Claire Barker, who lives with endometriosis, introduce #MyEndometriosisQuestion. Evidently Cochrane’s Editors, Selena Ryan-Vig and Sarah Chapman, explain more about the series.
Page last reviewed: 5 April 2022.
March is Endometriosis Awareness Month. There is a vibrant online community of people with endometriosis, commonly known as #endosisters, who share knowledge and offer support, along with charities such as Endometriosis UK and grassroots organisations such as Fair Treatment for the Women of Wales.
Endometriosis UK led the #EndoTheStigma campaign during Endometriosis Awareness Month. They encouraged everyone to be more open about endometriosis and asked the public, healthcare practitioners, policymakers, politicians, and workplaces, to come together to raise public awareness of the condition, its symptoms, and the impact it has on people’s lives. This blog series is our contribution to the #EndoTheStigma campaign.
Our #MyEndometriosisQuestion special series has been coordinated by Claire Barker (@EndoLadyUK), Dr James Duffy (King’s Fertility, London), and Dr Martin Hirsch (Oxford University Hospitals).
Claire regularly blogs about her experiences of endometriosis at theendotheworld.com. She has been involved in endometriosis research as both a A person who takes part in a trial, often but not necessarily a patient. and researcher.
James (@JamesMNDuffy) is a Clinical Fellow working at King’s Fertility, The Fetal Medicine Research Institute, London (kingsfertility.co.uk). His clinical interests include supporting people affected by infertility associated with endometriosis. He is an editor at the Cochrane Gynaecology and Fertility Group and has prepared many Cochrane Reviews are systematic reviews. In systematic reviews we search for and summarize studies that answer a specific research question (e.g. is paracetamol effective and safe for treating back pain?). The studies are identified, assessed, and summarized by using a systematic and predefined approach. They inform recommendations for healthcare and research. related to the diagnosis and management of endometriosis.
Martin (@martinhirsch100) is a consultant surgeon at Oxford University Hospitals (ouh.nhs.uk) and treats people experiencing painful symptoms associated with endometriosis. His research focuses on improving online information related to the condition, novel diagnostic tests for endometriosis, and redesigning diagnostic and treatment pathways.
What endometriosis is and why it matters
Evidence on endometriosis diagnosis and treatment
It can be difficult to diagnose endometriosis as the symptoms associated with it are very similar to other common conditions including adenomyosis, fibroids, and ovarian cysts. This can lead to long delays in diagnosis which have been highlighted as a significant problem which needs to be urgently addressed within an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Endometriosis.
The The intervention that is widely accepted as being the best available, against which new developments should be compared. For example, a particular medicine. for diagnosis is key-hole surgery with a biopsy, however ultrasound and MRI (a type of scan that uses strong magnetic fields to produce detailed images of the inside of the body) are being increasingly used to diagnose severe endometriosis. A negative ultrasound scan does not exclude endometriosis.
Treatments should aim to improve the symptoms and quality of life of people with endometriosis. Treatments for pain and other symptoms associated with endometriosis include holistic, medical, and surgical treatments. Treatment for infertility associated with endometriosis often requires specialised treatment including key-hole surgery and IVF (in vitro fertilisation).
The Cochrane Gynaecology and Fertility Group have prepared over 20 reviews investigating the The ability of an intervention (for example a drug, surgery, or exercise) to produce a desired effect, such as reduce symptoms. and Refers to serious adverse effects, such as those that threaten life, require or prolong hospitalization, result in permanent disability, or cause birth defects. of treatments for the management of endometriosis. They have also published several reviews assessing the effectiveness of various diagnostic tests. You can read more about Cochrane Gynaecology and Fertility’s reviews here.
Live Question and Answer (Q&A) sessions on Twitter
Throughout the month, anyone was welcome to submit questions to a panel of experts. The panel included professionals with expertise in endometriosis diagnosis and treatment, endometriosis researchers, and people with experience of endometriosis.
There were three live Q&A sessions on Twitter during the month. The first focused on diagnosis. The second session focused on infertility and the third on pain and other symptoms including emotional wellbeing, relationships and work, and longer-term impacts.
You can still view the Q&As on Twitter using the hashtag #MyEndometriosisQuestion.
While our experts could not give specific medical advice, they did provide information about endometriosis, relevant evidence and guidelines, and tips for discussing endometriosis with your own health professional.
Evidently Cochrane Blogs
Throughout March, we also shared a series of blogs on diagnosis and treatment. These blogs summarise Cochrane Reviews which have brought together the evidence from all published research studies.
- Two blogs on diagnosis; one looking at ultrasound and MRI and another at blood tests.
- Two blogs on infertility associated with endometriosis, with one looking at laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery and the other looking at long‐term GnRH agonist therapy before in vitro fertilisation (IVF) for people with endometriosis.
- Two blogs on pain associated with endometriosis, one looking at oral contraceptives and one looking at laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery.
- A blog on speaking with GPs about endometriosis: Lara’s story
- All Party Parliamentary Group (AAP). Endometriosis in the UK: time for change – APPG on Endometriosis Inquiry Report 2020. October 2020. Web. 04 March 2021. Available from: https://endometriosis-uk.org/sites/endometriosis-uk.org/files/files/Endometriosis%20APPG%20Report%20Oct%202020.pdf
- Zondervan KT, Becker CM, Missmer SA. Endometriosis. New England Journal of Medicine, 2020 Mar 26;382(13):1244-1256. doi: 10.1056/NEJMra1810764. https://www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJMra1810764
James Duffy, Martin Hirsch, Claire Barker, Selena Ryan-Vig and Sarah Chapman have nothing to disclose.
James’ Duffy’s biography appears below.
Please note, we cannot give medical advice and do not publish comments that link to individual pages requesting donations or to commercial sites, or appear to endorse commercial products. We welcome diverse views and encourage discussion but we ask that comments are respectful and reserve the right to not publish any we consider offensive. Cochrane UK does not fact check – or endorse – readers’ comments, including any treatments mentioned.