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Patient–Physician Interactions Regarding Dyspareunia with Endometriosis: Online Survey Results

Authors Witzeman K, Antunez Flores O, Renzelli-Cain RI, Worly B, Moulder JK, Carrillo JF, Schneider B

Received 8 February 2020

Accepted for publication 28 April 2020

Published 29 June 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 1579—1589


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Michael Schatman

Kathryn Witzeman,1 Oscar Antunez Flores,2 Roberta I Renzelli-Cain,3 Brett Worly,4 Janelle K Moulder,5 Jorge F Carrillo,6 Beth Schneider7

1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Denver Health Medical Center, Denver, CO, USA; 2AbbVie Inc., North Chicago, IL, USA; 3Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV, USA; 4Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA; 5Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA; 6Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL, USA; 7MyHealthTeams, San Francisco, CA, USA

Correspondence: Kathryn Witzeman
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Denver Health Medical Center, Denver, CO, USA
Tel +1 303-602-9725

Introduction: Dyspareunia can be a debilitating symptom of endometriosis. We performed this study to examine women’s experiences with painful sexual intercourse, the impact of dyspareunia on patients’ lives, and perceptions of interactions with healthcare practitioners.
Methods: An anonymous 24-question online survey was provided through the social media network and was available internationally to women aged 19– 55 years who were self-identified as having endometriosis and had painful sexual intercourse within the past 2 years.
Results: From June 13 to August 20, 2018, 860 women responded and 638 women completed the survey (United States, n = 361; other countries, n = 277; 74% survey completion rate). Respondents reported high pain levels (mean score, 7.4 ± 1.86; severity scale of 0 [no pain] to 10 [worst imaginable pain]), with 50% reporting severe pain [score of 8 to 10]). Nearly half (47%) reported pain lasting ≥ 24 hours after intercourse with the pain often leading to avoiding (34%) or stopping (29%) intercourse. Pain impacted patients’ lives, causing depression (61%), anxiety (61%), low self-esteem (55%), and relationship strain. Many women feared to seek help (10%). Of those women who approached practitioners, many (36%) did not receive effective treatments.
Discussion: Women with dyspareunia related to endometriosis experience severe pain that can negatively impact patients’ lives. Dyspareunia may be a challenging topic for discussion for both patient and practitioner, leading to a suboptimal treatment approach and management. Results suggest that practitioners need improved education and training regarding dyspareunia to evaluate and treat patients’ sexual pain caused by endometriosis.

Keywords: dyspareunia, endometriosis, patient satisfaction

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