This presentation will summarize current knowledge on sexual function and dysfunction in patients with endometriosis, and present an overview of empirical literature on the experience of the disease. This paper is based on review of articles on this subject published in the Medline (PubMed) database, selected according to their scientific relevance.
Endometriosis, one of the most common causes of CPP, is associated with symptoms of pelvic pain, deep dyspareunia, and infertility. These symptoms, as well as the “uncertainty” that surrounds such diagnosis, disease course and the future, have a great impact on women's quality of life and on couple's relationship. With respect to sexuality, the main findings highlighted by studies are that the experience of pain is a significant factor in reducing or curtailing sexual activity, the orgasm is less satisfying, women feel less relaxed and fulfilled after sex and report lowering of self-esteem, negative effects on relationship with partners, although with some differences between younger and older women. Generally, no formal pain management follows diagnosis or is included in the treatment of endometriosis.
The way in which the pain of endometriosis is interpreted and managed by women and health professionals makes a difference in the side effects on the patient's quality of life; therefore pain management and sexuality in endometriosis should be addressed routinely. A multidisciplinary approach is recommended. Both medical and surgical treatments are effective and choice of treatment must be individualized. Moreover, the use of the psychotherapy improves the management of chronic pain.
Recorded in June 2011 at the 20th WAS World Congress for Sexual Health
Forging the Future: Sexual Health for the 21st Century, Glasgow, UK.
The World Association Of Sexual Health athttp://www.worldsexology.org