Healthcare Seeking Behaviour May Be Sign of Endometriosis

Healthcare Seeking Behaviour May Be Sign of Endometriosis

Women with endometriosis use healthcare more in all 10 years before receiving a diagnosis.

Key Points


  • Women who are later diagnosed with endometriosis use healthcare services more often than healthy controls for 10 years.


  • This knowledge could help to identify signs of endometriosis early, potentially reducing the time between symptom onset and diagnosis.

What’s done here:

  • This is a case-control study on 129, 696 women between January 1, 2000, and December 31, 2017.

Key results:

  • Women with endometriosis had significantly higher healthcare usage in all 10 years before the diagnosis compared to those without the disease.
  • Hospital visits increased profoundly in the last year before a diagnosis of endometriosis.


  • Only women diagnosed with endometriosis at the hospital are included in the study.
  • The reasons for contacting the healthcare provider are not known and may not be related to endometriosis.

Lay Summary

Women with endometriosis had a higher utilization of primary and secondary healthcare in the 10 years before receiving a diagnosis, found a new study published in the scientific journal Human Reproduction

“With this knowledge, healthcare professionals could be better at relating certain healthcare-seeking behavior to endometriosis earlier and thereby reduce the time from onset of symptoms to diagnosis,” the researchers wrote. It was already known that most women experience delays of as long as 10 years before receiving a proper diagnosis of endometriosis. However, only a few studies have investigated the potential consequences of this delay in terms of healthcare utilization.

In the present study, a team of researchers from Denmark and the UK led by Dr. Dorte Rytter from the Department of Public Health, Research Unit of Epidemiology at Aarhus University, conducted a case-control study on 129,000 women. Of these, 21 616 had a first-time hospital-based diagnosis of endometriosis. The researchers matched each of the women with endometriosis to 5 women without the disease of the same age at the time of diagnosis.

The results showed that women with endometriosis had significantly higher healthcare utilization in all 10 years before the diagnosis. The mean number of times the women with the disease visited their general practitioner in a year was 9.99 compared to 7.85 for those without the disease. Hospital visits increased slightly in the first 9 years for women who were later diagnosed with endometriosis but were most obvious in the last year before the diagnosis.

“This study is in agreement with the other known studies on the subject,” the researchers concluded. “Future studies should include specific reasons for contacting the healthcare system and thereby identify any specific contact patterns for women with endometriosis”.

Research Source:

endometriosis diagnosis healthcare utilization diagnostic delay


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