Experimental pain tolerance is decreased and independent of clinical pain intensity in patients with endometriosis

Experimental pain tolerance is decreased and independent of clinical pain intensity in patients with endometriosis. Treatment should be aimed at desensitization of patients by pain education or cognitive therapy.

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Volume 110, Issue 6, Pages 1118–1128

Authors:

Mieke van Aken, M.D., Joukje Oosterman, Ph.D., Tineke van Rijn, M.D., Ph.D., Kelly Woudsma, M.Sc., Magdalena Ferdek, M.Sc., Gé Ruigt, Ph.D., Tamas Kozicz, M.D., Ph.D., Didi Braat, M.D., Ph.D., Ard Peeters, Ph.D., Annemiek Nap, M.D., Ph.D.

Abstract:

Objective

To investigate alterations in tactile, pain thresholds and pain tolerance thresholds in patients with endometriosis using a multimodality approach.

Design

Cross-sectional study.

Setting

Multidisciplinary referral center.

Patient(s)

Women with proven endometriosis (N = 35) and healthy controls (N = 38).

Intervention(s)

Pain processing was tested using quantitative sensory testing (QST) to investigate sensation, pain, and pain tolerance thresholds for thermal, electrical, and pressure stimuli.

Main Outcome Measure(s)

Differences in QST measures in patients with endometriosis and in healthy controls on the endometriosis site and control sites, and the association between QST outcomes and patient characteristics.

Result(s)

We observed a significantly decreased pain tolerance in patients with endometriosis, independent of clinical pain intensity or revised American Society for Reproductive Medicine stage, compared with healthy controls.

Conclusion(s)

Increasing knowledge concerning mechanisms underlying the pain of women with endometriosis creates opportunities to develop new treatment options. More attention should be paid not only to treat endometriosis in a surgical or pharmacologic way, but also to desensitize by pain education or cognitive therapy.


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Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders. The journal publishes juried original scientific articles in clinical and laboratory research relevant to reproductive endocrinology, urology, andrology, physiology, immunology, genetics, contraception, and menopause. Fertility and Sterility® encourages and supports meaningful basic and clinical research, and facilitates and promotes excellence in professional education, in the field of reproductive medicine.

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