The situation with coronavirus (COVID-19) is escalating and changing on a daily basis. It is a worrying time and a cause of anxiety and concern. However, it is not the case that those with endometriosis are considered at increased risk. If you have endometriosis, similar to the general population, your best defence against the virus is minimising social contact and regular hand washing.
Endometriosis within the chest cavity (in the lungs or on the diaphragm) is referred to as ‘thoracic endometriosis’ and is estimated to be found in up to 10% of those with endometriosis. As COVID-19 is a respiratory tract infection, those that have pre-existing respiratory (breathing) problems are more at risk, and so it may be that if you have thoracic endometriosis you could be more at risk. If you have thoracic endometriosis, your best defence against the virus is minimising social contact, regular hand washing, and self-isolating if necessary. If you’re concerned about specific treatments or symptoms, speak to your GP, or if you are under the care of a hospital, get in touch with the team there.
Implications for your endometriosis care
The COVID-19 pandemic will add significant extra workload on the NHS. If you are currently receiving treatment or waiting for an appointment for your endometriosis, you are likely to experience changes, with delays or cancellations to your appointments or surgery. Hospital and GPs will be looking to move to remote consultations, such as by telephone. The vast majority of endometriosis surgery will be classified by the NHS as non-urgent ‘elective’ surgery, and this means that those waiting for endometriosis surgery in the next few months will most likely have their surgery dates cancelled and re-issued in due course, and if you do not have a date for surgery, the waiting times for surgery are likely to increase.
We understand it may be very difficult if you have planned surgery or routine appointments cancelled during this unprecedented time for the NHS, but would like to reassure you that after the acute period of this pandemic is over, we will be working with the RCOG and others to ensure the endometriosis service is resumed and your care can continue/your appointments can be rescheduled. If you are finding your symptoms unmanageable during this time, contact NHS 111 or your GP.
For general information about COVID 19, please refer to the Government and NHS websites:
- UK Government guidance including on symptoms and staying at home with possible COVID-19 infection (link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection )
- UK Government’s response to Coronavirus (COVID19) (link - https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response )
- Advice from the NHS (link - https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ )
- Public Health England is producing daily updates on COVID-19 infections in the UK.
For questions about coronavirus, see nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19 or use the online NHS 111 service to check your symptoms 111.nhs.uk/covid-19. If you can’t access the online service, feel you cannot cope with your symptoms or they get worse, call NHS 111.
Coronavirus and your mental wellbeing
The Charity MIND have produced information about things that may help your mental wellbeing in these challenging times. Please see MIND (https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/) for helpful resources.