Endometriosis: a premenopausal disease? Age pattern in 42,079 patients with endometriosis

Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2012 Sep;286(3):667-70. doi: 10.1007/s00404-012-2361-z. Epub 2012 May 5.


Purpose: The objectives of this study were to examine the age distribution among women suffering from endometriosis and to establish that endometriosis is not a disease that occurs only in premenopausal women. The null hypothesis was that there are also postmenopausal women with endometriosis.

Methods: In a retrospective epidemiological study, a descriptive analysis of data from the Federal Statistical Office in Germany for 2005 and 2006 was carried out. A total of 42,079 women in Germany were admitted for surgical treatment due to histologically confirmed endometriosis during this period. The patients' age distribution was examined and they were assigned to 5-year age groups and then to premenopausal, perimenopausal, and postmenopausal subgroups.

Results: A total of 20,835 women in 2005 and 21,244 in 2006 were admitted to hospital for the treatment of endometriosis. In the premenopausal group (age 0-45 years), there were 33,814 patients (80.36 %); 23 patients (0.05 %) in this premenopausal group were younger than 15. There were 7,191 patients (17.09 %) in the perimenopausal group (45-55 years), and the postmenopausal group (55-95 years) included 1,074 patients (2.55 %).

Conclusions: The assumption that endometriosis is a disease of the premenopausal period and in women of reproductive age needs to be called into question, as well as the influence of estrogen in fully developed endometriosis. Due to the relatively high prevalence of the condition in patients aged over 40, physicians should consider endometriosis in cases of unclear pelvic pain in this age group.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Age of Onset
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Endometriosis / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Menopause
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult