Endometriosis Calculator next step in understanding mysterious condition
“I was operated on by one of my colleagues after doing a scholarship to specialize in this surgery. I got pregnant after the operation and now have a nine month old son [Nikolai].”
Her diagnosis has “added fuel to the fire” of Dr Reddington’s interest in developing a better understanding and a way to diagnose women earlier, to prevent suffering and promote their best chances of fertility.
She is overseeing nine studies in hopes of developing an “endometriosis calculator” based on women’s biological markers that may suggest they are more likely to develop endometriosis.
So far, indicators such as hair color, eye color, body mass index [low BMI can be an indicator] and even the distance between the vagina and the anus – an indicator of exposure to estrogen – are on the list of factors that may suggest a predisposition. Most endometriosis is not visible on ultrasound.
“We would really like people to have a better idea of the risks of endometriosis before doing surgery,” Dr. Reddington said. “We’re trying to create this calculator based on people’s symptoms and other demographics: their age, height and weight, as well as genetic factors.”
There is some evidence that having a shorter ano-genital distance – easily measured during a routine examination – may reflect the risk of developing the disease. “We want to see if we can combine these predictors and together we can calculate what their risk is,” Dr Reddington said.
Royal Women’s and Melbourne IVF specialist Dr Vanessa Ross said endometriosis was found six to eight times more often in women with infertility than in other women.
“It’s a really big issue. In women who have had endometriosis, in 30-50% of them, one of their symptoms will be that they have trouble getting pregnant,” he said. she declared.
Research suggests that surgery for the condition improves the chances of natural conception. Dr. Ross studies the development of fertility in women with moderate to severe forms of the disease.
Women with endometriosis have poorer obstetrical outcomes, she said, including higher rates of miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, gestational diabetes and low birth weight babies, which makes it important to get treatment as soon as possible.
“For infertile patients, this might be the only symptom of their endometriosis – that they are struggling to get pregnant. If there were better diagnostic tools to be able to screen for endometriosis in women, that would be helpful fertility,” she said.
Alexis Wolfe, from Endometriosis Australia, says getting people with endometriosis treated earlier also helps them understand that the pain they are experiencing is ‘not their fault’. “It really helps them feel empowered and in control of their health to have more options available to them,” she said.
“If they can only get treatment when they are looking to start a family, treatment is limited. Hormone control is an option, but not for someone trying to conceive, which can lead to surgery that is invasive and requires recovery time.
“If that person has been trying for several years [to get pregnant] these decisions can weigh heavily. While the global rate of endometriosis is one in 10 women, in Australia it is one in nine.
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