Abu Dhabi procedure ends '10 years of pain' for Scottish woman with endometriosis

Danat Al Emarat Hospital for Women and Children offered Chloe Bremner, 24, affordable treatment

Chloe Bremner flew to Abu Dhabi for the first time to undergo surgery. Photo: Danat Al Emarat
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A woman who suffered excruciating pain for 10 years due to a silent disease that affects millions of women says the agony is over after a hospital in Abu Dhabi responded to her cry for help.

Chloe Bremner, 24, from Scotland, had been living with endometriosis for most of her life.

It is a chronic condition in which tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside of the organ.

Having been misdiagnosed for years, Ms Bremner finally found out what was ailing her months ago and sought treatment.

But she was informed there was a waiting list that could reach up to three years.

I was very proud that we were able to do this
Obstetric and gynecology consultant Dr Zahid Khan

“For years I have been in pain,” she said. “It went from painful periods to having pain every day so I wasn't able to go to work.”

Endometriosis, Ms Bremner said, was never mentioned until she was 23 years old.

“I went to see doctors a lot and was misdiagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome,” she said.

She started a GoFundMe page to obtain treatment in the private sector, where surgery could cost anywhere from $2,500 to $7,500.

Her page was seen by Danat Al Emarat Hospital for Women and Children in Abu Dhabi, which offered to do the surgery for a fraction of the cost.

In March, she took the decision to fly out to Abu Dhabi for the very first time to undergo the procedure, which finally cleared Ms Bremner of her pain.

“I felt good,” she said. “I finally felt like something was happening, and once I spoke to the team here, I felt comfortable.”

Infographic: Endometriosis: A Chronic Disease | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

Cutting-edge technology

Obstetrics and gynaecology consultant Dr Zahid Khan, who performed the surgery, said they used modern technologies and techniques, which ensure that the recurrence rate is less than nine per cent.

About 20 to 30 per cent of women who have traditional surgery for endometriosis experience a recurrence within five years.

“More than 90 per cent of endometriosis cases have been [previously] misdiagnosed,” he said.

“This is a recurrent theme. The current waiting time from when a woman complains of her first symptoms, which is usually painful periods, to when she actually gets diagnosed with endometriosis is between nine to ten years.”

Ms Bremner's endometriosis was around the tubes that go to her kidney and to the bladder. If not treated, she would have developed kidney failure in a few years.

“I was very proud that we were able to do this,” Dr Khan, who is one of eight endometriosis surgeons in the UAE, said.

“Classically, Abu Dhabi and Emiratis seek government help to travel overseas for super specialist help, but we are now in a place where we have absolute top-notch healthcare here for the people of the UAE. People don’t need to go anywhere.”

Long waiting lists

Waiting lists in many countries for endometriosis can reach up to three years, with few surgeons to serve large populations, he said.

“The numbers don’t change. It is 100,000 women per million, so you can imagine how many women around the world need surgery,” Dr Khan said.

At Danat Al Emarat, about six to seven surgeries are done every week.

“I have one piece of advice: women should ask themselves two questions: Do they have painful periods? And if so, does it prevent them from any social or professional engagements?

“If the answer to both these questions is yes, then the chances that they have endometriosis are well over 80 per cent. I would advise them to speak to an endometriosis specialist immediately.”

Updated: May 06, 2024, 3:00 AM