Background: The study aim was to assess the time elapsed between onset of symptoms and diagnosis of endometriosis, and to identify the factors associated with diagnostic delay in a group of Brazilian women.
Methods: In this retrospective cohort study, 200 women with surgically confirmed endometriosis were interviewed at an endometriosis outpatient clinic.
Results: The median (interquartile range) time elapsed from onset of symptoms until diagnosis of endometriosis was 7.0 (range 3.5-12.1) years. The younger the women at onset of symptoms, the longer the period for diagnosis to be made: the median delay was 12.1 (range 8.0-17.2) years in women aged < or =19 years, and 3.3 (range 2.0-5.5) years in women aged > or =30 years. The median time period between onset of symptoms and diagnosis was 4.0 (2.0-6.0) years for women whose main complaint was infertility, but 7.4 (3.6-13.0) years for those with pelvic pain.
Conclusions: The delay in diagnosis of endometriosis was considered to be long, and especially so for young women with pelvic pain. More information relating to endometriosis should be offered to general physicians and gynaecologists in order to reduce the time taken to diagnose this condition.