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The pandemic has had a huge impact on health services across the globe, affecting the ability for people to access safe care for many common, but debilitating conditions. One of these is endometriosis, a long-term condition which occurs when tissue similar to the lining of the womb grows in other places such as ovaries, fallopian tubes and in some severe cases the bowel and bladder.

Consultant Gynaecologist, Laparoscopic and Robotic Surgeon Mr Denis Tsepov who leads the Endometriosis Centre at The Harley Street Clinic, spoke to us about the impact of the pandemic on endometriosis care and patients and how to safely access endometriosis services during lockdown. 
 

How has the pandemic affected access to endometriosis care?

Unfortunately, care has been significantly affected across the NHS as the pressures of the pandemic mean that hospital have to prioritise urgent care, emergency and cancer procedures. Patients who waited for several months for endometriosis surgery are now on indefinite waiting lists. 

Patients who have medical insurance or are able to self-pay for their treatment can visit our Endometriosis Centre, which has remained open throughout the pandemic and access everything from an initial consultation (online or in-person) to advanced diagnostic services and multidisciplinary endometriosis surgery. Many people assume that we’re closed and are surprised to find out that they can get an appointment in a matter of days and endometriosis laparoscopic or robotic surgery in 2-3 weeks time from the initial consultation.

Has the pandemic affected the types of patients you’re seeing or the severity of their condition?

Endometriosis builds up slowly over time, and while delaying treatment for a year or more might result in progression of the condition, it’s often the delay in care itself which can cause other problems for the patient. Endometriosis is often a very painful and debilitating condition and delays to treatment can often have a negative impact on a person’s mental health as well as physical well being, leading to depression and anxiety. 

Unfortunately, there’s no medicinal cure for endometriosis yet and for many patients, especially those with severe and deep-infiltrating endometriosis, the best thing we can do is to operate and excise deep endometriosis in either radical or fertility-preserving way. Although The Harley Street Clinic is supporting the NHS with capacity during the pandemic, my team and I will often operate in evenings and on weekends to ensure patients requiring surgery do not face delays.
 

What should I do if I think I may endometriosis?

Symptoms can vary in severity but common symptoms include pelvic pain, severe menstrual pain, pain during sexual intercourse or when you go to the toilet and heavy periods. You can come straight to us regardless of whether you’ve had an initial diagnosis of endometriosis or not and we’re happy to see patients with or without a referral 5 days a week.

You can book in directly with us for a consultation, after which we will carry out some tests before our team put a treatment plan in place for you. We know how painful endometriosis can be and how stressful it can be to come into hospital, which is why we have psychological support available for all our patients.  
 

Does undergoing surgery pose any increased risk of catching COVID-19?

We’ve not had any proven cases of Covid transmission to patients here at the Endometriosis Centre at The Harley Street Clinic and we go to great lengths to minimise the risk of COVID-19. Staff are regularly tested and follow strict hygiene protocols. 

Anyone who does have surgery will be required to self-isolate for two weeks before their procedure and will be tested for COVID-19 72 hours before their operation as well as on discharge. Once you’re discharged, there’s no need to isolate any further. 
 

Find out more about Mr Denis Tsepov

Contact us

Any questions? Get in touch and we'll be happy to help.

020 7118 0298
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