Image courtesy of holohololand at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of holohololand at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By I.Soussis MD

Hudson et al. from the UK, presented an interesting study at the latest ESHRE conference, held in Lisbon Portugal in June 2015.

The main question was: How do partners of women with endometriosis perceive the disorder and how do they help their wives/partners to deal with their symptoms and to seek medical help?

Endometriosis is a chronic gynaecological condition(disorder), affecting 5-15% of women, during their reproductive age.  The symptoms include painful menstruation, painful intercourse, tiredness, chronic pelvic pain and heavy periods.  Furthermore, 40% of visits to  fertility clinics are due to endometriosis.

Many studies show the negative effect endometriosis has on social and marital relations, as well as the help that the male partner provides.  However, most of these studies focus on the women’s experiences.

In this study “Endopart UK”, 22 heterosexual couples were interviewed.  The inclusion criteria were, a laparoscopic diagnosis of endometriosis and the cohabitation of the couple.  Both men and women were interviewed separately.

It was found that the impact endometriosis had on the daily lives of the men and on their feelings was impressive.

Every long term disorder affects the healthy partner, but endometriosis more than any other, because it affects the reproduction and sex life of the couple.

The partners took an active role during doctor’s appointments and helped their female partners to choose the right treatment. Their support during the implementation of the treatment was significant.

In the future, the treatment should not just focus on the woman, but should take into account the effect that endometriosis and its treatment have on the quality of the couple’s life and also that of the male partner.

ESHRE 2015, O-080: Men living with endometriosis:perceptions and experiences of male partners of women with the condition. N. Hudson, L.Culley, H. Mitchell, C.Law, E. Denny, N. Raine-Fenning