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National report shows more endometriosis cases in older women

Photo: More endometriosis cases in older women
The first national analysis of its kind shows 11 per cent of women between the age of 40 and 44 have endometriosis, compared to seven per cent between 25 to 29.

One in nine women between the ages of 40 and 44 have endometriosis, the first national report of its kind has revealed.

Endometriosis occurs when tissue that normally lines the uterus grows in other parts of the body, often causing debilitating pain, organ damage and stress.

The report, released on Thursday by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, also found that about seven per cent of women aged 25 to 29 have the illness.

AIHW spokeswoman Claire Sparke says endometriosis can lead to bleeding, inflammation and scarring.
'Women may experience pain, heavy menstrual bleeding, bleeding between periods, lethargy and reduced fertility, among other symptoms," she said.

Researchers used data from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health, along with health service data, which included information from the two age groups.

The analysis also found that women are being diagnosed with endometriosis earlier, which could be put down to increased awareness of the illness.

There were around 34,000 endometriosis-related hospitalisations in 2016/17, with 95 per cent involving at least one procedure.

Common procedures include a diagnostic hysteroscopy, which examines the uterus, as well as surgery to scrape away the lining.

Ms Sparke says more information is needed on primary care, specialist care, pharmaceutical treatment, and emergency department care for endometriosis.

The federal government last year announced the first national action plan for endometriosis, backed by $4.5 million to help increase knowledge and awareness of the illness.

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