As many as one in nine women aged 40-44 and one in fifteen women aged 25-29 have endometriosis according to new research published by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
The report, Endometriosis in Australia: prevalence and hospitalisations, provides fresh insights into endometriosis and is the first comprehensive national report into the historically under-recognised condition.
Endometriosis is a chronic and inflammatory condition that can be extremely painful, affect fertility and often leads to reduced participation in school and work.
In 2016 and 2017 there were about 34,200 endometriosis-related hospitalisations, according to the report. Around 15 of every 1000 hospitalisations among women aged 15-44 in the same period were due to the condition.
‘Endometriosis is a chronic condition which occurs when tissue similar to that normally found lining the uterus occurs in other parts of the body,’ said AIHW spokesperson Ms Claire Sparke.
‘The tissue responds to hormones released by the ovaries, which can lead to bleeding, inflammation and scarring,’
‘Women may experience pain, heavy menstrual bleeding, bleeding between periods, lethargy and reduced fertility, among other symptoms.’
Sparke said the report was the “biggest picture we can possibly get” of the prevalence of the condition among Australian women.
However the experts warn that the data may underestimate number of people who are currently living with the condition, as it relies on self-reported and hospital data. It is thought that many women with endometriosis may not self report or may still be undiagnosed.
There is an average of 7 years between onset of endometriosis symptoms and diagnosis.
To now have statistics on endometriosis published by the AIHW is a big step forward for endometriosis awareness. The AIHW is frequently used to inform discussion and policy decisions in health.
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ENDOMETRIOSIS IN AUSTRALIA: PREVALENCE AND HOSPITALISATIONS Today the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare have shared the first ever national report on Endometriosis. One of the key findings include 1 in 15 women aged 25-29 and 1 in 9 women aged 40-44 have endometriosis. Researchers from the University of Queensland looked specifically at two cohorts of women: those born in 1973-78, and those born in 1989-1995. They found the younger group had a greater rate of diagnosis in their 20s, almost 1.7 times higher than those in the older age group. I’ve posted each page of the report in my story and added it to a new highlight called RESEARCH. More info available at @endometriosisaustralia & @10dailyau. Have a read and spread the word! Reports like this are vital in reflecting the need for investment and funding! Your voice is important and we are stronger together! 👊🏼 📷: @hn.illustrated
Earlier this year, the federal government allocated $9 million to endometriosis research to improve detection, treatment and understanding of the often misunderstood condition.
The Australian Coalition for Endometriosis (ACE) has welcomed the findings of the AIHW research, however they noted the report underestimates the pain impact of endometriosis.
“While we know that women and girls with endo frequently present to the ED for pain management, most presentations are often discharged following a short review and are therefore unrecorded.”
“The AIHW report includes a summary of hospital admission data, not previously available to the general public. This new data demonstrates the gravity of the problem and the inequality of access to care.”
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Endometriosis has no known cure.