UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Deep dyspareunia in endometriosis : Role of the bladder and pelvic floor Orr, Natasha L.; Noga, Heather; Williams, Christina; Allaire, Catherine; Bedaiwy, Mohamed Ali, 1968-; Lisonkova, Sarka; Smith, Kelly


Background. The etiology of endometriosis-associated deep dyspareunia may include direct endometriosis-specific factors (e.g., Stage or invasiveness of disease) and/or indirect contributors such as bladder/pelvic floor dysfunction (e.g., related to myofascial mechanisms or nervous system sensitization). Aim. This study aimed to determine whether bladder/pelvic floor tenderness and painful bladder syndrome were associated with severity of deep dyspareunia in women with endometriosis, regardless of Stage (I/II vs. III/IV) or other endometriosis-specific factors. Methods. Observational study from a prospective patient registry (January 2014 – December 2016) at a tertiary centre for endometriosis. Included were women aged 18-49 years who had surgical removal and histopathological confirmation of endometriosis at the centre. Cases with Stage I/II vs. Stage III/IV endometriosis were analyzed separately. Bivariate associations with the primary outcome (severity of deep dyspareunia) were tested for bladder/pelvic floor tenderness, painful bladder syndrome, as well as endometriosis-specific factors identified at the time of laparoscopic surgery (e.g., deep infiltrating endometriosis) and demographic factors (e.g., age). Multivariable ordinal logistic regression was carried out to adjust for factors associated with the primary outcome. Main Outcome Measure. Primary outcome was severity of deep dyspareunia on an 11-point numeric rating scale, categorized as none/mild (0-3), moderate (4-6), and severe (7-10), from a pre-operative self-reported questionnaire. Results. Overall, 411 women had surgically confirmed endometriosis: 263 had Stage I/II and 148 had Stage III/IV endometriosis. Among women with Stage I/II endometriosis, severity of deep dyspareunia was associated with both bladder/pelvic floor tenderness and painful bladder syndrome (AOR=1.99, 95% CI: 1.15-3.44, p=0.013 and AOR=1.94, 95% CI: 1.11–3.38, 66 p=0.019, respectively), independent of endometriosis-specific factors or other factors associated with deep dyspareunia severity. Similar associations were found in women with Stage III/IV endometriosis (bladder/pelvic floor tenderness AOR=1.90, 95% CI: 1.01 – 3.57, p=0.048, painful bladder syndrome: AOR=2.51, 95% CI: 1.25 – 5.02, p=0.01). Clinical Implications. Myofascial or nervous system mechanisms may be important for deep dyspareunia in women with endometriosis, even in those with moderate-to-severe disease (Stage III/IV). Strengths & Limitations. Strengths include the prospective registry, and histological confirmation of endometriosis and staging by experienced endometriosis surgeons. Limitations include assessment of only one pelvic floor muscle (levator ani). Conclusion. In women with Stage I/II or Stage III/IV endometriosis, severity of deep dyspareunia was strongly associated with bladder/pelvic floor tenderness and painful bladder syndrome, independent of endometriosis-specific factors, which suggests the role of myofascial or sensitization pain mechanisms in deep dyspareunia.

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