Is the prevalence of endometriosis on the rise?

November 10, 2016

Researchers gathered survey data to find out.

According to a new study in Gynecologic and Obstetric Investigation, the prevalence of diagnosed endometriosis is noteworthy.

The researchers conducted an online, cross-sectional survey among women aged 18 to 49 years from August 6, 2012 to November 14, 2012. The survey data, which were weighted by age, education, geographical distribution, propensity score, income, and race, were used to estimate the symptomatic burden of diagnosed endometriosis, as well as the prevalence in the United States. Differences in symptom burden were examined using weighted logistic regression.

They found that 2922 of the 48,020 women surveyed had endometriosis, for a prevalence of 6.1%. An age at diagnosis between 18 to 29 years was seen in 52.7% of the women. The majority of women (86.2%) stated that they had experienced symptoms prior to their diagnosis. More women with than without endometriosis had menstrual pelvic pain/cramping (52.7 vs 45.2%), non-menstrual pelvic pain/cramping (36.7 vs 14.3%), infertility (11.6 v. 3.4%), and dyspareunia (29.5 vs 13.4%). When compared with women who did not have endometriosis, those who did were more likely to say that they had severe symptoms: OR [95% CI] 2.7 (2.3–3.1) for menstrual pelvic pain/cramping, 2.2 (1.7–2.9) for non-menstrual pelvic pain/cramping, and 2.4 (1.8–3.2) for dyspareunia.

The investigators concluded that the prevalence of endometriosis was of note and that the women who had the condition were likely to have a substantial symptom burden.