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New Study Sheds Light on Questionable Credibility of Endometriosis-Related Online Information, reports the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

New Study Sheds Light on Questionable Credibility of Endometriosis-Related Online Information, reports the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Philadelphia, PA – Endometriosis is a condition where cells normally found inside a woman’s womb are located elsewhere. This commonly includes the ovaries and the lining of woman’s pelvis leading to pain and difficulties falling pregnant. It is more common than most people realise, with estimates of around 6-10% of all women of child bearing age being affected. Given that endometriosis can cause severe physical symptoms of pain and psychological distress linked to conceiving a baby, it is understandably a popular topic for online queries.

However, a recent study, titled “Googling endometriosis: a systematic review of information available on the Internet, published in the May 2017 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, highlighted the absence of adequate online information suitable for patients or the public. The authors found that the information was rarely presented in an accurate and credible manner often in language poorly understood by the average reader.

The study focused on evaluating the “credibility, quality, readability, and accuracy of online patient information” of online information “containing information related to endometriosis for women with endometriosis or the public”, which were retrieved from five popular Internet search engines (,,,, and  No web pages scored highly across the four domains of evaluation, leading study authors to propose “the implementation of an information standard” which “will incentivize providers of online information to establish and adhere to codes of conduct.”

“The internet is a commonly used source of information for women with endometriosis. In the United States, there are over 400,000 searches for endometriosis each month”, said Dr Martin Hirsch, a clinical research fellow based at Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom and the study’s lead author. He continued, “The epidemic of inaccurate health information about endometriosis needs to be urgently tackled.”


Senior author Dr James Duffy, NIHR Doctoral Research Fellow at the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, said: “Online information about endometriosis is consistently poor and written in language that women with endometriosis would find difficult to understand. Women with endometriosis should be warned about the risk of outdated, inaccurate, or even dangerous information online.”

The paper, Googling endometriosis: a systematic review of information available on the Internet, is published by Elsevier in Volume 216, Issue 5 (May 2017) of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (


  1. Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) is one of the UK’s leading universities with 23,120 students representing more than 160 nationalities. A member of the Russell Group, we work across the humanities and social sciences, medicine and dentistry, and science and engineering, with inspirational teaching directly informed by our research. In the most recent national assessment of the quality of research, we were placed ninth in the UK amongst multi-faculty universities (Research Excellence Framework 2014). Today, as well as retaining these close connections to our local community, we are known for our international collaborations in both teaching and research. QMUL has an income of £400m and a research income worth £137m (2015/16) and generates employment and output worth in excess of £700m to the UK economy each year.
  2. Oxford University’s Medical Sciences Division is one of the largest biomedical research centres in Europe, with over 2,500 people involved in research and more than 2,800 students. The University is rated the best in the world for medicine and life sciences, and it is home to the UK’s top-ranked medical school. It has one of the largest clinical trial portfolios in the UK and great expertise in taking discoveries from the lab into the clinic. Partnerships with the local NHS Trusts enable patients to benefit from close links between medical research and healthcare delivery.
  3. Within the division, the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences undertakes internationally acclaimed teaching and research that improves the primary care that GP practices deliver, and is ranked top in the UK. The department’s research covers a broad range of primary care issues including cardiovascular and metabolic disease, health behaviours, infectious disease and child health, patient experience, research methods and evidence-based medicine:
  4. The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (, known as “The Gray Journal,” presents coverage of the entire spectrum of the field, from the newest diagnostic procedures to leading edge research. The Journal provides comprehensive coverage of the specialty, including maternal-fetal medicine, reproductive endocrinology/infertility, and gynecologic oncology. It also publishes the annual meeting papers of several of its eight sponsoring societies, including the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine and the Society of Gynecologic Surgeons. The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology’s 2015 Impact Factor is 4.681. The journal ranks third in Eigen factor score, continues to be first in total citations, and is the number 3 journal in the Obstetrics & Gynecology category according to the 2015 Journal Citation Reports®, published by Thomson Reuters, 2016. The journal has also been recognized as one of the 100 most influential journals in Biology & Medicine over the last 100 years, as determined by the BioMedical & Life Sciences Division of the Special Libraries Association (2009).

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