National clinical guidelines released for endometriosis
New national clinical practice guidelines to diagnose and treat endometriosis have been released, aiming to improve the lives of Australian women living with the debilitating condition.
Endometriosis is an inflammatory condition that can be devastating for some sufferers but is often undiagnosed, although it affects one in nine women and girls. It involves cells similar to the endometrium (uterus) growing in other locations, usually in the pelvis but sometimes in other tissue and organs.
Commissioned by the Australian Government and developed by the Royal Australian College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists — with assistance from a working group including a range of healthcare professionals, patients and carers — the guidelines align with the National Action Plan for Endometriosis, launched in 2018.
Since the launch of the National Action Plan, the Morrison government has committed $21.13 million to improve awareness, clinical management, care and research into endometriosis. This includes $5 million announced in the 2021–22 Budget for the Pelvic Pain Foundation of Australia to continue and expand its successful Periods, Pain and Endometriosis Program (PPEP Talk) in Australian schools.
The Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, said, “The new Australian Clinical Practice Guideline for the Diagnosis and Management of Endometriosis will provide up-to-date, evidence-based guidance to support the highest quality care in a variety of Australian healthcare settings.
“Improvements in clinical care and research is the third priority area identified in the Action Plan and these guidelines will assist in addressing this goal,” Minister Hunt said.
In addition to endometriosis, the guidelines provide information on the diagnosis and treatment of adenomyosis — a related and often overlooked condition that can occur on its own or in conjunction with endometriosis.
“Despite endometriosis affecting an estimated 700,000 Australian girls and women, the timeframe from the onset of symptoms to diagnosis can be between seven and 12 years,” Federal Member for Boothby Nicolle Flint MP said.
“These guidelines will assist clinicians in diagnosing the condition earlier and to help provide the highest level of care to sufferers,” she said.
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