A new test for endometriosis that does not require surgery and offers a speedy diagnosis is being recommended by experts.
The almost 100% accurate test will help diagnose the condition, which one in seven women worldwide suffer from. There are around 2 million suffers in the UK, most of whom were diagnosed between the ages of 25 and 40.
It occurs when cells that usually line the womb are found elsewhere in the body, such as the fallopian tubes, bladder, ovaries, bowel, intestines, vagina and rectum. Although some women have few or no symptoms at all, the most common sign is pain or discomfort.
The new check, developed by researchers in Australia and Jordan, involves testing a sample of the lining of the uterus (endometrium), which can be removed during a biopsy via the vagina. Testing for the presence of nerve fibres can allow the prediction of endometriosis with almost 100% accuracy.
"There is still a substantial delay in the diagnosis of endometriosis in most countries," said the researchers, who published the findings in the Human Reproduction journal.
"The length of time from the onset of symptoms to the definite diagnosis is often quite long, with an average of six to 10 years in many centres", they add.