Researchers found that women who suffer from pelvic pain caused by endometriosis may need psychological intervention to help improve their mental health and quality of life. The study, titled “Impact of endometriosis on quality of life and mental health: pelvic pain makes the difference,” was published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology.
Estimates indicate that up to 80% of women with endometriosis — an inflammatory disease characterized by the presence of endometrial tissue outside the uterine cavity — suffer from chronic pain. Moreover, the disease results in infertility in 30%–50% of these women and has been shown to affect their everyday life, social relationships, sexuality, and mental health.
In the study, Federica Facchin and colleagues investigated whether the four most common types of endometriosis pain (dysmenorrhea, dyspareunia, non-menstrual pelvic pain, and dyschezia) have different impacts on patients’ quality of life and levels of anxiety and depression.
The team included 110 patients with surgically diagnosed endometriosis (78 with pelvic pain and 32 without pain symptoms) and 61 healthy controls. All participants were asked to complete two assessment tools measuring quality of life, depression and anxiety. Participants with endometriosis were also asked to indicate the intensity of discomfort experienced in the four specified types of pain.
Results showed that endometriosis patients with pelvic pain had poorer mental health and quality of life in comparison to asymptomatic endometriosis patients and to healthy controls. Statistical analyses also revealed no differences in these health measures between the asymptomatic endometriosis and control groups. Results further revealed that dysmenorrhea had significant effects only on physical quality of life, while non-menstrual pelvic pain affected all the variables.
In a recent news release, a spokesperson from Taylor & Francis, publisher of The Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology, said of the importance of this research to women with endometriosis: “Not only do we know just how much impact pelvic pain can have on quality of life, but we’ve also learned that different types of endometriosis pain (dysmenorrhea, dyspareunia, non-menstrual pelvic pain and dyschezia) can affect mental health in different ways. This means that in assessing patient symptoms and pain types, doctors will be able to provide them with the most appropriate type of psychological intervention to improve their quality of life.”