Research app uses artificial intelligence to detect, manage endometriosis

Endometriosis impacts roughly 10% of women of reproductive age globally, according to the World Health Organization.
Posted at 1:25 PM, May 03, 2024

A new research app is using artificial intelligence to help women with endometriosis.

“Patients can track their day-to-day experiences of disease and based on this data, we can first of all tell people who don't have an official diagnosis whether they look like they should go see and consult with a specialty gynecologist, because their profile of symptoms looks a lot like the one of an endometriosis patient,” said Dr. Noémie Elhadad, an associate professor and the chair of biomedical informatics at Columbia University.

Dr. Elhadad developed an app called Phendo.

Endometriosis impacts roughly 10% of women of reproductive age globally, according to the World Health Organization.

Diagnosis of the disease can be difficult, and there's currently no known cure. Treatment often focuses around controlling symptoms.

“There’s a long lag to diagnosis, and so by the time women have an actual official diagnosis of endometriosis they've spent many, many years without any treatment often,” Dr. Elhadad said.

“The medical establishment doesn't really know what works and what does not work so there's kind of this burden left on patients to figure out what works for you specifically,” she explained.

That’s where Phendo and artificial intelligence comes in, giving users a platform to log symptoms and see certain patterns. The artificial intelligence tool could help improve screening, and potentially identify a pattern or signature to spot potential cases. It could also help you decipher what does and doesn’t work for you when it comes to managing endometriosis.

“We found through our research that patients really liked having reports from the app about what they’re doing, because they want to print it and show it to their doctor. And so that it can help in the shared decision-making or any management of the disease,” Dr. Elhadad said.

While symptoms vary person to person, some of the most common symptoms of the disease include lower back or abdominal pain, painful menstrual cramps, fatigue, and infertility, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The Phendo app is available to download on most phones.

“It’s a research app, but we’re looking for many more people to join us. I think the more diverse experiences of endometriosis the better,” Dr. Elhadad said.

App users must be at least 13 years old.

“The benefits are, you're going to help science better understand endometriosis, but also it might be helpful to your own management of the disease,” she said.

May is Women’s Health Awareness Month.

Woman patient consulting with doctor.

Science and Tech

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Justin Boggs
6:23 AM, Jun 02, 2023

@scrippsnews About 1 in 10 women have #endometriosis, a disease that can impact your ability to get pregnant. Researchers at Columbia University have developed an AI-based research app to help detect and manage the disease. #artificialintelligence #healthtok #news ♬ original sound - Scripps News