Endometriosis is the most common benign gynaecological disorder. The general practitioner (GP) plays an important role in identifying women at early stages of the disease. This study was conducted to acquire information about awareness and knowledge of endometriosis among Dutch GPs, and clinical strategies taken. A total of 101 GPs completed a questionnaire either by email or at a local education meeting. The GPs annually encounter 2.8 women they suspect of having endometriosis. The estimated time to diagnosis was 65.7 months (39.1 months patient delay and 26.6 months doctors delay); 56.7% of GPs primarily refer to a gynaecologist for consultation or diagnostic tests. The GPs answered on average 16.6 out of 28 knowledge questions correctly. Seventy-six out of 87 GPs stated that they needed further education. The results of this study indicate that if a GP considers endometriosis as a diagnosis, adequate action is undertaken. As only limited numbers of women with endometriosis are encountered in their practice, GPs do not recognize immediately the symptoms that may be caused by endometriosis, leading to diagnostic delay. Our findings may help to set up teaching programmes and awareness strategies for first-line medical professionals to enhance timely diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis.
Keywords: clinical strategies; diagnostic delay; endometriosis; general practitioners.
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