Women who suffer from pelvic pain caused by endometriosis may need psychological intervention to help improve both mental health and quality of life, says a new study in the Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology.
The study examined the impact of endometriosis on quality of life, anxiety and depression. In total, 110 women with surgically diagnosed endometriosis (with and without pelvic pain) and 61 health controls were studied. The researchers found that those who experience pelvic pain had poorer mental health than those who did not.
Notable results from the study include:
- Women with endometriosis (no pain) are less likely to experience anxiety and depression than those who have pelvic pain.
- Pain is the key aspect to poorer mental health, which is critical to understand when devising treatment plans for 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,” a spokesperson from Taylor & Francis, publisher of The Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology said.
“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,” the spokesperson added.
“Pain significantly affects women’s experience of endometriosis. The medical treatment of endometriosis with pain may not be sufficient and psychological intervention is recommended,” the study’s authors concluded, in their article, Impact of endometriosis on quality of life and mental health: pelvic pain makes the difference.
Endometriosis is a painful disorder where the tissues that lines the uterus grows outside of the uterus, and may involve the ovaries, pelvis and bowels. It is associated with heavy menstrual cycles, pelvic pain, and typically affects girls and women during their productive years. Endometriosis is most commonly treated surgically, while symptoms are often managed with oral contraceptives, pain medicine and GnRH therapy.