The diagnosis and treatment of deep infiltrating endometriosis

Gülden Halis, Sylvia Mechsner, Andreas D Ebert
Deutsches Ärzteblatt International 2010, 107 (25): 446-55; quiz 456

BACKGROUND: Endometriosis and adenomyosis uteri are the most common benign disorders affecting girls and women after uterine myomas (fibroids), with a prevalence of roughly 5% to 15%. There have been many advances in diagnostic assessment and in our understanding of the disease over the past decade. Steady improvements in treatment have been accompanied by heightened consciousness of the diagnosis among the affected women and the doctors who care for them.

METHODS: A selective literature search was carried out in the Cochrane and PubMed databases using the key words "endometriosis," "deep infiltrating endometriosis," "endometriosis AND diagnostics," "endometriosis AND surgical therapy," "endometriosis AND endocrine treatment," and others. The AWMF and ESHRE guidelines were also taken in account.

RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: The main manifestations are primary or secondary dysmenorrhea, bleeding disturbances, infertility, dysuria, pain on defecation (dyschezia), cycle-dependent or (later) cycle-independent pelvic pain, nonspecific cycle-associated gastrointestinal or urogenital symptoms. Cycle-associated problems of urination and/or defecation that are due to endometriosis are most common in young, premenopausal women. Whenever such manifestations are present, endometriosis should be considered in the differential diagnosis, and evidence for it should be sought in the clinical history, physical examination, and ultrasound findings. If endometriosis is histologically confirmed and is of the deeply infiltrating kind, the recommended management today is to refer the patient to an endometriosis center.

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