A study published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research evaluated the frequency of endometriosis among infertile women and emphasized laparoscopy as the main diagnostic gold standard. The study was developed by researchers at the Institute of Kidney Diseases and Research Centre in India and is entitled “Prevalence; Characteristics and Management of Endometriosis Amongst Infertile Women: A One Year Retrospective Study”.
Endometriosis is a gynecological disorder in which the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus (called endometrium) grows outside the uterus, usually in the abdominal cavity, where it can form lesions and cysts, scarring organs like the ovaries, bladder and rectum. The tissue, although displaced, still continues to act normally, as such, it thickens, breaks down and bleeds with each menstrual cycle.
Endometriosis can be difficult to diagnose. It is a painful disorder, causing inflammation and very heavy periods. It is estimated that up to 10% of women in reproductive age suffer from this condition and it can cause spontaneous pregnancy loss and infertility in up to 50% of the women with the condition. The main diagnostic tool for endometriosis is laparoscopy, a surgery performed in the abdomen or pelvis through small incisions that allows the visualization of organs with the help of a camera.
In the study, researchers investigated the prevalence and clinical features of endometriosis among infertile women. The team conducted a retrospective study based on data from the Institute of Kidney Diseases and Research Centre between April 2012 and March 2013. In total, 180 infertile women with laparoscopic evidence of endometriosis were included in the study, with researchers assessing the clinical signs and symptoms.
The team found that endometriosis frequency in the cohort analyzed was of 48.38%, and there was a statistically significant association between disease severity and symptoms like chronic pelvic pain, dysmenorrhea (pain during menstruation), restricted uterine mobility and adnexal tenderness. Furthermore, the presence of endometrioma (cysts) with ground-glass appearance was also found to be linked to disease severity.
The research team concluded that the use of laparoscopy evaluation of infertile women has increased the detection of endometriosis cases, and that laparoscopy is the gold standard for diagnosing and staging endometriosis. The disorder was found to have a very high incidence among infertile women. Researchers suggest that although most endometriosis cases are asymptomatic, signs like chronic pelvic pain, restricted uterine mobility and adnexal tenderness should always be investigated as they can be indicative of the disorder.