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Feature Article

Recognising, understanding and managing endometriosis

Ian S Fraser

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Abstract

Endometriosis is a chronic recurring disease that is often left undiagnosed. A high level of suspicion is required in women who present with pelvic pain. The current ‘gold standard’ for the diagnosis of pelvic endometriosis is a diagnostic laparoscopy.

Key Points

  • Endometriosis is defined as the presence of tissue lesions or nodules, histologically similar to the endometrium, at sites outside the uterus.
  • It is a highly variable condition that has a wide spectrum of symptoms.
  • The aetiology of endometriosis is probably multifactorial, with a strong familial component recognised.
  • Women with endometriosis have multiple disturbances of function in the eutopic endometrium that women without the disease do not have.
  • A firm diagnosis of endometriosis is rarely possible in general practice. The ‘gold standard’ for the diagnosis of pelvic endometriosis is currently a diagnostic laparoscopy.

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