Around 85% of people in UAE unaware that Endometriosis causes Ovarian Cancer while 75% of married couples do not know that PCOS leads to infertility

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 5 October, 2016: Aster Hospital and Clinics revealed the results of a survey by independent research agency YouGov, to determine awareness levels of Endometriosis and PCOS among UAE residents. In addition to being causes of infertility, Endometriosis and PCOS are also associated with other medical conditions such as cancer, hypertension, diabetes, obesity etc.[i],[ii] Late detection and inappropriate management of the conditions have been identified as the risk factors for developing the complications.

Around 70% of women in the age-group of 25 to 29 years are not familiar with Endometriosis. It is also the age group commonly associated with the onset of the condition.[iii] Knowledge of the symptoms can help in early detection and proper treatment of the condition. Awareness levels are the lowest among the Arab expats (77%) and the Asian population (66%).

PCOS affects 1 in 10 women around the world, but the survey revealed that only 16% of the UAE residents surveyed felt that they were extremely aware or moderately familiar with the symptoms of PCOS.

“We are frequently coming across patients who seek help for infertility with endometriosis and PCOS as the underlying cause. In most cases the symptoms were unrecognized for years leading to late detection and ensuing complications. The first step to tackling a disease in its early stage is awareness and this survey has proved that awareness level for women in UAE is far from optimal. There is an urgent need for not just women, but men as well to be better informed so that they can support their partners and family members and help them to seek medical help in time,” said Dr. Ann Mini Mathew, Specialist Obstetrics and Gynecology at Aster Hospital.

Health conditions like PCOS & Endometriosis are not talked about much and deserve more attention if they are to be diagnosed and treated in a timely manner. Aster encourages women to be proactive about their health by providing them with resources to reduce the risk of women-related diseases.

Ms. Alisha Moopen, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, Hospitals & Clinics (GCC) said, “Aster is pushing the boundaries of medical services to deliver superior quality patient care with new services and treatment options to create better future for patients. In line with our commitment to helping women in the UAE to better manage their health, we have begun a long-term PCOS awareness initiative to evoke change that will have a real time impact on women across the UAE. We undertook this survey to get a better understanding of the levels of awareness of Endometriosis and PCOS among UAE residents. The results provide us with valuable insights about the lack of awareness and equip us to undertake steps in the right direction, starting with bridging the knowledge gap which is one of the key objectives of this new initiative.”

Highlights of findings among the survey respondents

Endometriosis:

  • 91% of UAE residents lack sufficient knowledge of endometriosis syndrome to take appropriate next steps
  • Emiratis are very aware about the symptoms associated with Endometriosis, while Arab Expats seem to be least aware with 59% saying that they are not aware of any symptoms
  • 58% of residents are not aware of health complications that might arise because of Endometriosis while infertility (20%), ovarian cancer (15%) and adhesions (14%) are the top 3 health complications they associated with it
  • 51% of residents are not aware of any symptom associated with Endometriosis while painful periods (25%), pain in the lower belly before and during periods (22%) and excessive bleeding during periods (18%) are the top 3 symptoms they associated with it

PCOS:

  • 48% of UAE residents are not at all familiar with PCOS. Females had more familiarity (66%) than Males (45%)
  • Arab Expats are least aware about PCOS, with 54% saying that they are not at all aware of PCOS; followed by Asians at 49% and Emiratis at 35%. Westerners are more familiar with symptoms of PCOS
  • 45% of residents are not aware of health complications that might arise because of PCOS, while infertility (26%), abnormal uterine bleeding (18%) and depression and anxiety (18%) are the top 3 health complications they associated with it
  • 38% of residents are not aware of any symptom associated with PCOS, while irregular menstrual periods (37%), cysts on the ovaries (32%) and infertility (28%) are the top 3 symptoms they associated with it

To address the lack of awareness about such conditions, Aster Hospital & Clinics have taken an initiative to educate the UAE population about PCOS, Endometriosis and related disorders & health conditions. Initiated since September, which was also PCOS Awareness Month, Aster has educated its patient base with educational materials and is in the process of setting up exclusive PCOS and Endometriosis clinics, to dedicate its efforts towards fighting this disorder by paying close attention to its minutest symptoms.  Educating and further assisting women and men in the community about the condition by informing them of its causes and treatment options, is the first and foremost step to bring the change. As part of a longer and ongoing outreach programme, Aster is also conducting Health Talks within communities and corporates in order to further educate both men and women.

About Aster DM Healthcare

Established in 1987, Aster DM Healthcare currently owns and operates a network of more than 290 plus units across the Middle East and India, covering an array of healthcare verticals including clinics, hospitals, pharmacies and a modern medical city. These network units are consolidated under the brand names ASTER, MEDCARE, ACCESS, ASTER Medcity and ASTER MIMS. The multitude of health facilities that include 18 hospitals offer primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary care in order to meet the requirements of people from a cross section of the society. 

For more information please contact: 

Lisa Alvares / Reem Abi Ali

Memac Ogilvy PR

Email: lisa.alvares@ogilvy.com /reem.abiali@ogilvy.com

Tel: +971 (0) 4 305 0329/ +971 (0)4 305 0310

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