Endometriosis patients require Sergas to train specialists
In the Hospital Doce ?de Octubre, in Madrid, there is an expert team, but from Galicia no case is derived
The condition, which involves having endometrial tissue in other parts of the body, is not easily diagnosed
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10% of women suffer from endometriosis, but in Galicia there is no public unit specializing in this condition, which at its most severe levels is highly debilitating. This is the complaint of the Andalusian Federation of Endometriosis (Adaec), which has a delegation in Pontevedra. In the Sergas they explain that endometriosis is perfectly treatable in the usual gynaecology units, something that patients of the most serious grades consider unrealistic.
These women have made their complaints to the Administration and the Valedor do Pobo in two ways: on the one hand, they demand that specialists be trained in a disease that, although not curable, can be operated on, but only when there is a great deal of preparation; on the other hand, they believe that, if the Sergas does not have this service, it should refer the more serious cases to another public hospital that does have it, as is the case with the Doce de Octubre centre in Madrid.
Ultrasound and laparoscopy
Although each service decides whether or not to refer a file to another centre, there is a protocol in the Sergas: if the technique is done in a public hospital in Galicia, it is treated there; if not, in a public hospital in Spain; then it is passed on to the private clinics in Galicia or Spain, and finally abroad. Endometriosis, as emphasized by the Galician Health Service, is treated in all units, so there is no room for referral.
María Antonia Pacheco, president of the Adaec, explains that “many believe that endometriosis is a pain of the period, but it is not. In its most serious cases it involves cysts in organs such as the lung or the kidney”. The problem is that the diagnosis is very complicated: “An expert sees the cyst on an ultrasound scan, but one who is not, does not”. The determining diagnosis is obtained with a biopsy after a laparoscopy, which “in Galicia they usually do not want to do because it involves a lot of risk and there is no guarantee that the site will be correct and the lesion will be seen”.
This same month, Cruces Hospital (Biscay) has developed a new non-invasive technique based on the discovery of new markers present in samples of endometrial fluid, which can be obtained painlessly.
There are three solutions to treat the disease, which is incurable: take contraceptives that prevent ovulation and a large part of the pain; operate on the cysts (which come back); remove the uterus (at 45 years of age).
Ana C. M. is a 31 year old woman from Pontevedra and, after 20 years of pain, she wants to have an operation to become a mother. The problem is that she can spend eight hours in an operating theatre, with different surgeons who must have experience so that they can remove as many cysts as possible. In Galicia there is no option, that’s why she wants to go to Madrid “but they literally won’t let me”.