Treatment utilization for endometriosis symptoms: a cross-sectional survey study of lifetime experience

Fertil Steril. 2007 Jun;87(6):1277-86. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2006.11.051. Epub 2007 Feb 12.


Objective: To examine the lifetime utilization and perceived benefit of medical treatments and surgical procedures for endometriosis-related symptoms.

Design: Cross-sectional study of self-reported survey data.

Setting: Academic research setting.

Patient(s): Self-reported surgically diagnosed endometriosis by 1,160 women responding to the 1998 Endometriosis Association survey.

Intervention(s): None.

Main outcome measure(s): Use, perceived helpfulness, and outcomes of medical treatments and surgical procedures.

Result(s): Ninety-five percent of respondents reported pelvic pain, had endured symptoms on average of 16 years, and were young (mean: 36 years), white, and educated. Many women (46%) had tried three or more medical treatments, and almost 20% took them for 10+ years. Many reported medical treatments as helpful for symptoms (range, 36.4%-61.9%), but some reported stopping because of ineffectiveness (range, 15.6%-26.1%) or side effects (range, 10.0%-43.5%). Danazol or medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) was most commonly stopped because of side effects (range, 40.7%-43.5%). Surgical procedures were performed at least three times on 42%. Nearly 20% had a hysterectomy or oophorectomy; these procedures were reported as most successful in improving symptoms (45.9% and 37.8%, respectively).

Conclusion(s): Despite reporting various treatments as helpful, women used many different types and endured symptoms for an average of almost two decades, indicating the profound effect of endometriosis on women's health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use
  • Complementary Therapies*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Demography
  • Endometriosis / physiopathology
  • Endometriosis / surgery
  • Endometriosis / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • National Institutes of Health (U.S.)
  • Pelvic Pain / etiology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States


  • Analgesics