Surgical removal of endometriosis is an optimal treatment for pain relief to improve sexual activity, quality of life, and mental health in symptomatic women with endometriosis, according to the study “Love is a pain? Quality of sex life after surgical resection of endometriosis: a review,“published in the European Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Biology.
Endometriosis is a gynecological disorder that affects approximately 2-15% of premenopausal women. Characterized by the growth of endometrial tissue outside the uterus, endometriosis is almost always associated with pain that includes painful periods and painful intercourse, and painful urination and defecation when the bladder or bowel are involved.
Additionally, women with endometriosis have nine-times the risk of experiencing painful intercourse, a symptom associated with a more severe form of endometriosis that destroys organ layers. Patients who experience painful intercourse are more likely to report lowered sexual function and more interruption of sexual intercourse.
Nadja Fritzer and Gernot Hudelist, of the Wilhelminen Hospital Vienna and Hospital St. John of God Vienna, in Austria, analyzed reports based on previous studies and observances to understand whether the surgical removal of endometriotic lesions had a beneficial effect on reducing pain during intercourse and improving the quality of sexual activity.
The Austrian researchers found 69 papers that related to the topic, but only four fulfilled the study’s criteria and were included in the analysis. Results from the documents, which followed a total 321 patients 10 to 60 months after endometrial removal surgery, revealed significant pain reduction during intercourse for all women. Further, the women all experienced improved sexual activity and increased sexual satisfaction. Improvements in quality of life and mental health were also observed.
“All prospective studies analyzed in this review reported a significant improvement in dyspareunia postoperatively,” Fritzer and Hudelist wrote in the report. “We therefore conclude that surgical excision of endometriosis is a feasible and good treatment option for pain relief and improvement of quality of sex life in symptomatic women with endometriosis.”