The consequence of COVID-19 pandemic on endometriosis patientsBy: Selma Oransay - Jun 16, 2022
Self-isolation practices applied during the pandemic made it difficult to access medical care.
- There is a clear correlation between worsening of the reported physical and mental state of endometriosis patients and impaired medical care during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The COVID-19 pandemic confirmed the well-known information, "compromising the resources available to treat and diagnose endometriosis significantly affects the overall QuOL of patients.
- The pandemic further amplified the existing compromises on the general resilience of healthcare systems worldwide.
What's done here:
- An international study was designed to interrogate the quality of life, self-isolation practices, mental and physical state, and access to medical care among women with endometriosis during the Covid-19 pandemic.
- The main objective was to obtain a worldwide picture of "how the pandemic affected the healthcare of patients with endometriosis" and their related experiences.
- This cross-sectional, self-reported online survey evaluated almost 3000 replies to 17 questions from 59 countries.
- The questionnaire was created at a Polish University after a literature review on the basis of the quality of life by adjusting the study question.
- Forty percent of participants had their medical appointments canceled; among them, almost half reported a worsened mental state, and 40% reported aggravated symptoms.
- In comparison, in 1180 participants who kept their appointments, 27.5% reported worsened mental health and less than 30% reported aggravated symptoms.
- The participants who did not have medical appointments scheduled (n=610), followed a similar pattern as the participants who kept their appointments.
- Eighteen percent of the patients reported no alteration.
Limitations of the study:
- The main objective was to obtain a worldwide picture of how the pandemic affected the healthcare of patients with endometriosis and their related experiences, it did not assess the differences between the healthcare systems around the globe.
- Among international participants, cultural differences are expected and this may have affected the results.
- Translating the questionnaire into 15 different languages could possibly lead to different interpretations of given questions.
- Ninety percent of respondents were from Europe and South America and therefore the findings may not be generalizable.
The relevant policies and restrictions concerning Covid-19 have prevented patients from accessing medical care. Similarly, standard care for endometriosis patients has also been negatively impacted by postponed or canceled appointments and suspended surgeries across the countries. Women trying to cope with pain, subfertility, frustration about disease recurrence, and uncertainty during this period were exposed to a risk of negative physiological effects, and deterioration in their quality of life.
Ashkenazi et al. from Pomeranian Medical University, Poland, aimed to explore the effect of the global covid-19 pandemic on patients with endometriosis based on their self-reported experiences. A questionnaire was prepared based on the literature search of previous self-reported endometriosis surveys and translated into 15 languages. 3024 online data from 59 countries were collected and analyzed based on two variables: suspension of health services and the patient's physical and mental well-being.
Around forty percent of patients reported worsening mental health during the pandemic, and 35% felt their symptoms were aggravated due to the cancellation of medical appointments in the same period. A total of 1174 responders had at least one appointment canceled, while almost in 30% additionally the scheduled surgical and fertility treatments were canceled. One-third of the responders stated that although they needed urgent gynecological care, they were afraid to go to medical centers at the time of the pandemic.
"To face future high-demand challenges like pandemics, it is important to design and implement strategies to allow patients to the properly managed medical centers other than pandemics", concluded the authors. This study was recently published in the journal named Human Reproduction Open.
Research Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35386120/
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