Pain in the upper anterior-lateral part of the thigh in women affected by endometriosis: study of sensitive neuropathy

Fertil Steril. 2013 Jul;100(1):122-6. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2013.02.045. Epub 2013 Mar 27.


Objective: To assess whether pain in the anterior-lateral part of the thigh in women affected by endometriosis is due to femoral nerve invasion by endometriotic implants.

Design: Case-control study.

Setting: Hospital.

Patient(s): We enrolled 30 patients with endometriosis and leg pain in the anterior-lateral part of the thigh and 30 healthy women.

Intervention(s): Skin biopsy and neurologic examination for detection of neuropathy.

Main outcome measure(s): Intraepidermal small fiber density reduction and positive neurologic examination agree with sensitive neuropathy.

Result(s): Biopsy results showed no statistically significant difference between the case group and the control group. At neurologic examination nine patients in the study group (30%) showed positive results, none in the control group showed signs. These nine patients had reduced intraepidermal small fiber density, compared to the lower cutoff values of the control group, suggesting a sensitive neuropathy.

Conclusion(s): When there is leg pain in women with endometriosis it is important to distinguish neuropathic from referred pain. Skin biopsy and neurologic examination should be introduced in the management of leg pain in endometriosis, due to their low invasiveness to diagnose a sensitive neuropathy. As a result early detection of nerve injury and planning for a prompt specific treatment would be possible.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Endometriosis / diagnosis*
  • Endometriosis / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuralgia / diagnosis*
  • Neuralgia / epidemiology*
  • Pain / diagnosis
  • Pain / epidemiology
  • Pain Measurement / methods
  • Thigh / pathology*
  • Young Adult