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Endometriosis Awareness Week: Penningtons Manches highlights the importance of talking about gynaecological problems

Posted: 08/03/2017

Endometriosis Awareness Week runs from 6 -12 March 2017 and Penningtons Manches is supporting the campaign to increase understanding of the condition which affects one in ten women of reproductive age in the UK. The implications of endometriosis can be significant with 30-50% of those suffering from the condition experiencing infertility.

The clinical negligence team at Penningtons Manches is well aware that the key to ensuring a positive outcome is early diagnosis leading to prompt treatment. But to ensure prompt treatment, there needs to be awareness and better understanding of the condition so that the signs and symptoms are recognised and acted upon.

What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis occurs when endometrial tissue, which normally lines the inside of the uterus, is found in other areas of the body, including: 

  • the ovaries and fallopian tubes
  • the lining of the inside of the abdomen
  • the bowel or bladder

Research carried out by Endometriosis UK confirms that it is the second most common gynaecological condition. It is estimated that the average delay from symptoms to diagnosis and treatment is seven years, and this delay reaffirms the importance of raising awareness among women of reproductive age so that they can seek medical attention at the earliest opportunity.

What are the symptoms of endometriosis?

The symptoms of endometriosis can vary in intensity from woman to woman, and the amount of endometrial tissue does not necessary reflect the amount of pain and discomfort experienced. The most common symptoms include: 

  • painful, heavy or irregular periods
  • pain during and after sex
  • infertility
  • fatigue
  • painful bowel movements 

What are the treatment options?

There is no cure for endometriosis and it can be a difficult condition to treat. The main purpose of treatment is therefore to ease the symptoms so that the condition does not interfere with daily life by relieving pain, slowing the growth of endometrial tissue, improving fertility and preventing the condition returning. Endometriosis improves without treatment in around three in every ten cases, although it worsens without treatment in  four in every ten cases. It is common to monitor an individual to decide on treatment if the condition worsens.

Emma Beeson, an associate in the clinical negligence team at Penningtons Manches, will be speaking at the Women of the World Festival at the Southbank Centre on Saturday 11 March 2017 to discuss her experience of dealing with gynaecological claims and to encourage women to talk about issues relating to women’s health that are ordinarily considered taboo. Emma says: “One of the things I have found in dealing with clinical negligence claims relating to negligent gynaecological care is that often women are afraid to discuss their problems with their friends, family or doctors. They think that what they are going through must be normal and suffer in silence with conditions that go undiagnosed for long periods of time.

"We hope that campaigns such as Endometriosis Awareness Week will empower women with the knowledge they need to recognise when their symptoms are not 'normal' and that they will never to be afraid to seek advice about something that is causing them concern. Talking about the condition more openly should lead to better diagnosis and treatment for people who are suffering excruciating pain which dramatically impacts on their lives.” 

Gynaecological issues affect women of all ages, and can be a difficult subject to raise with those around you. Penningtons Manches has a friendly and approachable clinical negligence team experienced in dealing with this area of work. If you have any concerns or queries about the medical care you have received, please contact the specialist team.

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Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 419867.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP