The impact that endometriosis causes in the relationships between patients and their partners has not been widely studied. A new research study highlights how endometriosis can have a significant impact on the patient’s partner, affecting day-to-day living, finances, their sex life, and the relationship itself, suggesting that partners should also engage in the treatment process.
This report showed how the couples’ finances are altered by the diagnosis of endometriosis and evaluates the mental state and quality of life of the partners of women with endometriosis.
The authors prepared a questionnaire that was answered by 51 male partners of endometriosis patients who were from 35 and 44 years old, and who used the gynecology unit of a large hospital in Australia in 2013 and 2014.
Upon diagnosis, 92 percent of patients’ partners reported having negative feelings of frustration and worry. Many of them felt helpless and did not know how to help their partners.
Also, many of the partners felt frustration at the delay in diagnosis and experienced disengagement with their medical practitioner, although some felt that their role was to offer support and their main concern was to ensure their partners received the best treatment available.
Only 34 percent of the partners felt that health professionals had engaged them and offered them support in the decision-making process, but 80 percent said they never received information about the impact of the disease on couples.
Of all the participants, 70 percent claimed that endometriosis had affected their lives, either moderately or severely. The treatment costs, the women’s loss of productivity, and their inability to care for their children added to the burden of the disease, according to 52 percent of the participants.
As for the couple’s sex life, 74 percent of the partners said it was significantly affected, with all but eight participants saying they could not have intercourse as a result of their partner’s pain.
Altogether, 56 percent of the participants reported a significant impact on their relationship as a whole, and this group was the most likely to have their daily life, sex life, and finances affected.
This study highlighted the need to improve the engagement of partners in the endometriosis treatment process, to provide better education, and to support and better manage the treatment of these women and their families.