March is Endometriosis Awareness Month. Endometriosis is a painful condition where endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus. It is estimated that up to 10% of women have endometriosis (Ozkan 2008). Endometriosis can cause infertility and for women with subfertility the prevalence rate ranges from 25% to 40% (Ozkan 2008). Endometriosis frequently presents with the symptom of pain (Barlow 1993) including dysmenorrhoea (painful periods), dyspareunia (pain during sexual intercourse), and pelvic or abdominal pain.
We invited Edgardo Somigliana, MD-PhD (Dept Clinical Sciences and Community Health, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milan, Italy) to share his clinical view on endometriosis:
“Endometriosis is an enigmatic but curable disease. Significant improvements have been reached over the last two decades and most women can now be effectively cured. Indeed, when properly combined, surgery, hormonal medical therapy and assisted reproductive techniques can overcome endometriosis-related symptoms in the vast majority of cases. These results have not be obtained with revolutionary new therapies but, conversely, through a wiser use of the available tools (Vercellini 2015). Several challenges remain. Of utmost relevance is still disentangling the origin and pathogenesis of the disease. This unsolved issue is crucial and only progresses in this area could open new avenues or research that can ultimately lead to significant steps forwards, including prevention and early diagnosis.”
Cochrane Gynaecology and Fertility group has published over 20 intervention reviews and protocols investigating the effectiveness and safety of treatments for the management of endometriosis. In addition, we have published five diagnostic test accuracy reviews assessing the effectiveness of various tests in the diagnosis of endometriosis. We are joining #EndometriosisAwarenessMonth by sharing a collection of our reviews on endometriosis that focus on pain-related outcomes and fertility outcomes. The treatments include pharmacological interventions (hormonal therapy, immune-modulators, anti‐inflammatory drugs), surgery, and alternative medicine.