Prevalence of Use and Perceived Effectiveness of Medical, Surgical, and Alternative Therapies for Endometriosis Pain in Canadians

J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2023 Jan;45(1):11-20. doi: 10.1016/j.jogc.2022.11.003. Epub 2022 Nov 28.


Objectives: To describe the use and perceived effectiveness of medical, surgical, and alternative therapies (e.g., diet, exercise, heat, cannabis, etc.) in managing endometriosis-associated pain in Canadians.

Methods: A cross-sectional online survey was distributed via The Endometriosis Network Canada (TENC) from February to March 2021. Canadians aged 18-50 years with diagnosed or suspected endometriosis were eligible to participate.

Results: A total of 434 survey responses were included, and 93.8% of respondents reported that they used at least 1 alternative therapy in the past 6 months for endometriosis-associated pain. Respondents used an array of medical (2.3/6 months), surgical (1.7/lifetime), and alternative therapies (6.9/6 months) to manage their pain, yet 61.9% of respondents did not feel it was adequately managed. The most common alternative therapies were heat, meditation/mindfulness/rest, and diet.

Conclusion: Alternative therapies were commonly used by Canadians living with endometriosis to manage pain. Cannabis and heat were perceived as the most effective alternative therapies. Here, we gain a better understanding of alternative therapies that can provide an additional therapeutic avenue that clinicians and people living with endometriosis may wish to discuss and explore.

Keywords: cannabis; community participation; diet; heat; patient; pelvic pain; self-management.

MeSH terms

  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Cannabis*
  • Complementary Therapies*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Endometriosis* / complications
  • Endometriosis* / epidemiology
  • Endometriosis* / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pelvic Pain / diagnosis
  • Prevalence