Study question: What is the optimal management of women with endometriosis based on the best available evidence in the literature?
Summary answer: Using the structured methodology of the Manual for ESHRE Guideline Development, 83 recommendations were formulated that answered the 22 key questions on optimal management of women with endometriosis.
What is known already: The European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) guideline for the diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis (2005) has been a reference point for best clinical care in endometriosis for years, but this guideline was in need of updating.
Study design, size, duration: This guideline was produced by a group of experts in the field using the methodology of the Manual for ESHRE Guideline Development, including a thorough systematic search of the literature, quality assessment of the included papers up to January 2012 and consensus within the guideline group on all recommendations. To ensure input from women with endometriosis, a patient representative was part of the guideline development group. In addition, patient and additional clinical input was collected during the scoping and review phase of the guideline.
Participants/materials, setting, methods: NA.
Main results and the role of chance: The guideline provides 83 recommendations on diagnosis of endometriosis and on the treatment of endometriosis-associated pain and infertility, on the management of women in whom the disease is found incidentally (without pain or infertility), on prevention of recurrence of disease and/or painful symptoms, on treatment of menopausal symptoms in patients with a history of endometriosis and on the possible association of endometriosis and malignancy.
Limitations, reasons for caution: We identified several areas in care of women with endometriosis for which robust evidence is lacking. These areas were addressed by formulating good practice points (GPP), based on the expert opinion of the guideline group members.
Wider implications of the findings: Since 32 out of the 83 recommendations for the management of women with endometriosis could not be based on high level evidence and therefore were GPP, the guideline group formulated research recommendations to guide future research with the aim of increasing the body of evidence.
Study funding/competing interest(s): The guideline was developed and funded by ESHRE, covering expenses associated with the guideline meetings, with the literature searches and with the implementation of the guideline. The guideline group members did not receive payment. All guideline group members disclosed any relevant conflicts of interest (see Conflicts of interest).
Trial registration number: NA.
Keywords: European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology; endometriosis; evidence based; guideline.