Researchers from Australia, Jordan and Belgium have developed a quick and accurate test for endometriosis that does not require surgery.
Endometriosis, which has been estimated to affect 10-15 percent of women of reproductive age, is a chronic gynaecological disease in which cells from the endometrium establish themselves outside the uterus, within a woman's pelvic area.
Symptoms associated with it include infertility, painful periods, pelvic pain and pain during sexual intercourse.
So far, there has been no way of accurately diagnosing endometriosis apart from laparoscopy - an invasive surgical procedure - and this often leads to women waiting for years in pain and discomfort before their condition is identified correctly and treated.
Now, researchers at the University of Sydney and Mu'tah University in Karak, Jordan, have found that if they take a small sample of the endometrium (the lining of the uterus), which can be done by inserting the device for taking the biopsy via the vagina, and then test for the presence of nerve fibres in the sample, they can diagnose whether or not endometriosis is present with nearly 100 percent accuracy.
The new research has been published online in Europe's leading reproductive medicine journal Human Reproduction.