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Delays in Endometriosis Diagnosis Tied to Increased Health Care Utilization

Increased health care utilization seen up to 10 years before diagnosis with increases closer to diagnosis

By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Aug. 31, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Women with undiagnosed endometriosis have higher health care use in the years leading up to diagnosis, according to a study published online Aug. 15 in Human Reproduction.

Anna Melgaard, from Aarhus University in Denmark, and colleagues assessed the impact of delayed endometrial diagnosis on 10-year health care utilization prior to a first-time hospital-based diagnosis of endometriosis from 2000 through 2017. The analysis included 21,616 cases matched (1:5) to women without diagnosed endometriosis (108,080 women).

The researchers found that women with endometriosis had significantly higher use of health care in all 10 years preceding the index diagnosis. The mean number of annual general practitioner contacts was 9.99 for cases and 7.85 for controls (adjusted incidence rate ratio [IRR], 1.28). The association for hospital utilization increased slightly in the first nine years but was most profound in the last year preceding the index diagnosis (adjusted IRR, 2.26).

“Future studies should include specific reasons for contacting the health care system and thereby identify any specific contact patterns for women with endometriosis,” the authors write. “With this knowledge, health care professionals could be better at relating certain health care seeking behavior to endometriosis earlier and thereby reduce the time from onset of symptoms to diagnosis.”

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