A Qualitative Study to Understand Women’s Perceptions on Menstrual Concealment and Delayed Endometriosis Diagnosis Open Access

Loureiro, Isabelle (Spring 2020)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/9g54xj63k?locale=en


Endometriosis affects 10% of reproductive age women in the United States (Giudice, 2010; Johnson, 2015; Pugsley, 2007). There are several contentions about the current ‘gold standard’ endometriosis diagnosis method. Diagnosis is tricky and typically involves invasive laparoscopic surgery which is expensive, dependent on the expertise of the surgeon and the confirmation of the diagnosis may be variable. It seems that not only are diagnostic methods not reliable or feasible, but there seems to be a variation in perceived medical need. This variation suggests that there may be a specific preference for symptoms such as dyspareunia and subfertility, which may lead to better access to care for those experiencing these more severe symptoms compared to those who do not experience these specific symptoms. It is common for women to experience a diagnostic delay of 7-10 years (Johnson, 2015; McLeon, 2010). This delay in diagnosis may lead to incapacitation, where women are bedridden due to pain and their quality of life substantially decreases. Stigma surrounding menstrual concealment highlight the nuances in the medical field as it pertains to diagnosing menstrual pain or endometriosis. Stigma has significantly hindered the ability for some women to receive the adequate health care they need to begin coping with their physical symptoms (Stangl, 2019). Overall, the purpose of this study is to understand the women’s perceptions and experiences of delayed endometriosis diagnosis while exploring the role of the phenomenon of menstrual concealment. 

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