alexa Are digestive symptoms in women presenting with pelvic endometriosis specific to lesion localizations? A preliminary prospective study.
Reproductive Medicine

Reproductive Medicine

Gynecology & Obstetrics

Author(s): Roman H, Ness J, Suciu N, Bridoux V, Gourcerol G

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STUDY QUESTION: What are the types and frequency of digestive symptoms in patients with different localizations of pelvic endometriosis and which specific symptoms are related to rectal stenosis? SUMMARY ANSWER: There is a high prevalence of digestive complaints in women presenting with superficial pelvic endometriosis and deep endometriosis sparing the rectum. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: Women presenting with pelvic endometriosis frequently report gastrointestinal complaints of increased intensity during menstruation, which are not necessarily linked to the infiltration of the disease into the rectal wall. Even though intrarectal protrusion of the nodule can have an impact on bowel movement, only a minority of women with rectal nodules seemed to be concerned by significant narrowing of the rectum. STUDY DESIGN AND SIZE: This three-arm cohort prospective study included 116 women and was carried out over 22 consecutive months. PARTICIPANTS, SETTING AND METHODS: Prospective recording of data was performed for women treated for Stage 1 endometriosis involving the Douglas pouch (n = 21), deep endometriosis without digestive infiltration (n = 42) and deep endometriosis infiltrating the rectum (n = 53). Patient characteristics, pelvic pain and data from preoperative standardized questionnaires The Gastrointestinal Quality of Life Index (GIQLI), the Knowles-Eccersley-Scott-Symptom Questionnaire (KESS) and the MOS 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) were compared according to endometriosis localization. MAIN RESULTS: The values of total KESS and total GIQLI score were comparable for the three groups, as were a majority of the digestive complaints. Women presenting with rectal endometriosis were more likely to report an increase in intensity and length of dysmenorrhoea, while deep dyspareunia appeared to be more severe in women with superficial endometriosis. Women presenting with rectal endometriosis were more likely to present cyclic defecation pain (67.9%), cyclic constipation (54.7%) and a significantly longer stool evacuation time, although these complaints were also frequent in the other two groups (38.1 and 33.3% in women with Stage 1 endometriosis and 42.9 and 26.2% in women with deep endometriosis without digestive involvement, respectively). No independent clinical factor was found to be related to infiltration of the rectum by deep endometriosis. Among women with rectal endometriosis, only 26.4% presented with rectal stenosis. These women were significantly more likely to report constipation, defecation pain, appetite disorders, longer evacuation time and increased stool consistency without laxatives. LIMITATIONS: Patients treated for pelvic endometriosis in a tertiary referral centre may not be representative of the general endometriosis population presenting with those lesions. Statistically significant differences were revealed between the three groups; however, the results were based on a small number of subjects, which carries an inherent risk of type II error particularly when comparing variables with closed values. WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS: In women presenting with pelvic endometriosis, it seems likely that various digestive symptoms are the consequence of cyclic inflammatory phenomena leading to irritation of the digestive tract, rather than to actual infiltration of the disease itself into the rectum, with the exception of a limited number of cases where the disease leads to rectal stenosis. STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST: The North-West Inter Regional Female Cohort for Patients with Endometriosis (CIRENDO) is financed by the G4 Group (The University Hospitals of Rouen, Lille, Amiens and Caen). No financial support was specifically received for this study. The authors declare no conflict of interest.

This article was published in Hum Reprod. and referenced in Gynecology & Obstetrics

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