Women's Health Matters: help us understand how your health affects you


Our Women’s Health Matters survey shines a spotlight on 10 gynecological issues that are often poorly understood or misdiagnosed. The findings of this survey will inform the basis of our Women’s Health Matters Report 2021, which will raise awareness of the devastating impact of these conditions on daily life, as well as potential treatment options and the pressing need for faster, more aggressive diagnosis times. 

If you’re currently battling the distressing symptoms of a gynaecological condition, then you’re not alone. We invite you to share your story with us. If you’ve not yet been diagnosed with a gynaecological condition, but suspect you might have one, your story is equally as important to us.  

Let’s help tackle the global stigma surrounding women’s health together. 

creative image of womb

Gynaecological health conditions such as endometriosis and adenomyosis often go undiagnosed for years. Despite this, they devastate the lives of millions of women worldwide, causing chronic, debilitating pain and understandably deeply rooted psychological problems. 

Our Women’s Health Matters survey explores ten of the most prevalent women's health conditions:

Endometriosis affects 1 in 10 women in the UK. One of the biggest issues with it is that it is very difficult to diagnose and takes an average of seven and a half years to be diagnosed. Endometriosis causes severe pelvic pain, pain during sex and often infertility. These are just some of the many symptoms of endometriosis.  

Adenomyosis also affects 1 in 10 women in the UK. According to the NHS, adenomyosis can also take years to diagnose. The condition causes heavy, painful or irregular periods and severe pelvic pain. These are just some of the many symptoms of adenomyosis. 

Interstitial cystitis 
According to The Urology Foundation, interstitial cystitis (IC) affects approximately 400,000 people in the UK, 90% of which are female. IC is often diagnosed through process of elimination, which can take a long time, causing feelings of hopelessness and exhaustion.IC has many symptoms, including severe pelvic pain, as well as frequent urination and urgency. 

It is not clear exactly how many women suffer from vulvodynia in the UK. However, The National Vulvodynia Association states that that as many as 16% of women in America suffer from the condition. According to studies sourced by the NVA, 60% of affected women consult three or more doctors before receiving a diagnosis. The condition causes many symptoms, including a constant painful burning sensation in your vagina, as well as pain during sex.  

One study by The British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (BJOC) suggests that 1 in 10 women find sex painful. Vaginismus can take a long time to diagnose because it is often overlooked as being natural “nerves” experienced before sex. Vaginismus causes your vagina to tighten before penetration due to intense fear of pain, making sex unusually challenging and painful.  

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) 
Studies show that around one in 10 women suffer from PCOS. There is no definitive diagnostic test for PCOS, so it can take time to diagnose through process of elimination. PCOS causes excessive hair growth and weight gain, which can take an upsetting toll on your self-confidence and body image.  

Ovarian cysts 
According to The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, most women will be unaware that they have an ovarian cyst(s), because they are often asymptomatic. However, up to 1 in 10 women may need surgery for an ovarian cyst at some point in their lives. If you do have symptoms, you will likely experience pelvic pain, pain during sex and unusually heavy periods. 

Cystic fibroids 
According to The National Center for Biotechnology Information, most women will develop one or more uterine fibroids during their reproductive lifespan. Cystic fibroids can lead to heaviness and pressure across your pelvic area. If left untreated, cystic fibroids will continue to grow.

According to John’s Hopkins Medicine, the symptoms of dysmenorrhea may “look like other conditions or medical problems”. This can make it difficult to diagnose. If you suffer from dysmenorrhea, you will likely experience excruciating period pain during your period and painful stomach cramps before, during and after your period. 

Pelvic organ prolapse 
According to NICE, in primary care in the UK, 8.4% of women reported a vaginal bulge or lump, and on examination prolapse is present in up to 50% of women. If you’re experiencing pelvic organ prolapse, you will likely feel pressure and heaviness across your pelvic area.  

Let’s help tackle the stigma together

Share your story by completing our survey.

If you are interested in seeking help for pain management, a gynaecological concern, or counselling, please contact our team at Circle Health Group by calling us on 0808 101 0337 or through our online enquiry form.

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