Endometriosis has long been known to negatively impact a woman’s mental health and overall quality of life. While it was previously believed that just having a chronic inflammatory disease of this type was the main reason for this, a new study has found that pelvic pain may be the key factor in whether or not an endometriosis patient experiences a lower quality of life.
The findings, published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology, also show that women who suffer from pelvic pain from endometriosis may need psychological intervention in order to help improve their mental health and quality of life.
Endometriosis is a chronic disease that occurs when tissue that typically lines the inside of the uterus is found outside of the uterus, such as on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, ligaments, or the lining of the pelvic cavity. The disease, which affects at least 6.3 million females in the U.S., can cause severe pain, scar tissue formation, bowel problems, and infertility.
The study, which evaluated quality of life, anxiety, and depression in 110 patients with surgically diagnosed endometriosis and 61 healthy controls, found that those who experience pelvic pain had poorer mental health than those who did not.
The findings show that women with asymptomatic endometriosis (no pain) are less likely to experience anxiety and depression than those with pelvic pain. Pain appears to be the key aspect for women, which is an important point for the medical community treating endometriosis patients.
The new information could make it easier for doctors to recognize the need for pain management and to also understand when patients with endometriosis may be in need of psychological intervention.
A spokesperson from Taylor & Francis, publisher of The Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology, said the study shows how different types of endometriosis pain (dysmenorrhea, dyspareunia, non-menstrual pelvic pain, and dyschezia) can affect mental health in different ways. In assessing patient symptoms and pain types, doctors can provide them with the most appropriate type of psychological intervention to improve their quality of life.