Endometriosis impacts the lives of an estimated 176 million women around the globe. But researchers with Feinstein Institute for Medical Research have just unveiled what they say is a new and completely non-invasive way to diagnose the condition–and do it up to a decade earlier.
Unlike current endometriosis tests, which require laparoscopic surgery for a definitive diagnosis, Feinstein’s test uses only a woman’s menstrual blood. The test looks for particular cell changes and takes only a few days to process.
“A few days” stands in stark contrast to today’s diagnoses, say the researchers. Although a doctor can suspect endometriosis even when the growths are small, it takes laparoscopy to accurately confirm it. And since most women tend to put surgery off as long as possible, many women are not actually and formally diagnosed until years after they first begin experiencing symptoms. And that, of course, complicates their treatment and increases their likelihood of needing a hysterectomy.
So What Is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a chronic medical condition in which tissue from the uterus grows outside the uterus, typically around the ovaries or fallopian tubes. In some cases it can grow in other parts of the body.
Women with endometriosis can be struck with significant pelvic pain, which can worsen as the condition progresses.
Endometriosis can cause infertility. It is estimated that around 30% of female infertility involves the condition. No one is sure what causes it but one theory involves something called retrograde menstruation, which most menstruating women experience to some degree. This new test looks specifically at stem cells involved in this phenomenon.
The study was published this morning at the website for Molecular Medicine.
Photo by Clarke Sanders on Unsplash