Pain and Quality of Life with Endometriosis

Recently, we asked about your experiences of endometriosis. We were struck by just how much endometriosis-related pain (and associated symptoms) limit your day-to-day activities. While pain is not a primary issue for every woman with endometriosis, it can have a huge impact on quality of life, particularly in regards to limiting work and social activities.

While severe pain is known as a stereotypical endometriosis symptom, how women experience this pain varies across several dimensions.

Endometriosis pain is also thought to vary in a cyclical pattern, since endometriosis patients can have pain that is linked to their hormonal cycle, although this relationship does not exist across all endometriosis sufferers. The reasons for these differences remain unclear to researchers and doctors.

The experience of period pain (dysmenorrhea) is not exclusive to women with endo, nor are the impacts of period pain on quality of life for sufferers.

Such stigmatization means many suffer in silence and do not get the support they need, causing women to feel unhappy, dissatisfied and be less productive workers.

The negative impacts of endometriosis on women’s work lives is supported by scientific research (aka “the literature”).

Women express fear of symptom recurrence and are generally scared of dealing with endometriosis in the long-term, envisioning a bleak, uncertain future. Endometriosis also has real economic consequences — direct costs from endometriosis are estimated at approximately 7062 dollars per woman per year.

Endometriosis-related pain affects not only work activities but also social activities and personal relationships.

Overall, endometriosis has a huge negative impact on women’s lives, representing a reduction in quality of life of 19% when compared with a person with the best possible health.

There is also little known about how and if pain from endometriosis correlates with the menstrual cycle. More detailed evidence is needed to show how endo pain affects women’s ability to work and function on a daily basis — current data is mostly based on static questionnaires which survey women at a single point in time.

Mobile health apps (mHealth) provide us with a unique opportunity to study the possible connections between quality of life, pain, and menstruation.

The success of our work depends on patients engaging in research and contributing data on the daily experience of their disease.

It’s important that patients be given an opportunity to contribute to a better understanding of endometriosis and its effect on quality of life — something that is particularly important given just how serious the disease can be for the estimated 10% of women with endometriosis.

Stay tuned for a new study from Citizen Endo on these three dimensions-pain, menstruation, and quality of life. For this study, we teamed up with Deborah Estrin and her lab at Cornell Tech.

How do I Stay in Touch with Citizen Endo?

Patients and data science for an endometriosis cure: We bridge the gap between patient experience and clinical characterization of endometriosis.

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