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Can a misdiagnosis of endometriosis harm you?

Not knowing the reason behind chronic pain, unusual bleeding, irregular periods and other issues is a significant problem for many women. Not knowing what’s wrong can lead to serious anxiety and depression on top of fears about your health.

One common problem some women deal with is a condition called endometriosis. This disease is hard to diagnose for many reasons, but one of the main issues is that it usually requires a laparoscopy, a type of surgery, to visualize the endometrial tissues, scar tissues and damage in the body.

A lack of understanding about this disease leads to problems with diagnosis, too.

What can happen if endometriosis isn’t diagnosed in a timely manner?

Depending on the situation, a patient with endometriosis may develop one or more of several serious complications. Painful bowel movements, trouble with urination, infertility, heavy bleeding and other problems can occur. Early treatment or the use of birth control, for some people, reduces the likelihood of the disease spreading throughout the abdominal cavity and pelvic region, so there is a lower risk of compilations overall.

The average time, according to one study, for getting a diagnosis is around 10.4 years. In that same study, around 74% of participants had received false diagnoses previously. It’s not very clear why it takes doctors so long to diagnose this disease, because it is fairly common among women.

Endometriosis has symptoms that overlap with conditions such as:

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Irritable bladder
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Musculoskeletal problems

Treatments are available for endometriosis, though it is not able to be cured. Surgery can help treat certain aspects of the disease, such as the scar tissues that may bind the bowel or cause pain elsewhere in the body.

While endometriosis rarely leads to fatalities unless it involves the lungs, misdiagnosis can lead to the disease spreading and causing other issues. It’s possible that complications could lead to life-threatening problems, like bowel blockages, which is why a diagnosis is so important. If you were misdiagnosed and hurt as a result, you may want to look into making a medical malpractice claim.