Study question: Is pelvic pain due to endometriosis associated with temperament and character dimensions? Summary answer: Women with endometriosis and pelvic pain do not clearly exhibit a specific personality profile; however, personality is associated with pelvic pain perception. What is known already: There is research evidence suggesting that endometriosis patients with pelvic pain are more likely to present psychological disruption. Little is known about the association between subjective factors, such as personality traits, and pelvic pain. study design, size, duration: This cross-sectional study (N = 133) is part of a larger research on the association between endometriosis and several psychological variables carried out between 2012 and 2014. Participants/materials, settings, methods: The participants were 82 endometriosis patients and 51 healthy controls. Endometriosis patients indicated on a dichotomous scale (yes/no) whether they were suffering from pelvic pain and were divided in two study groups: painful endometriosis group (N = 58) and pain-free endometriosis group (N = 24). The severity of pelvic pain (chronic pelvic pain, dysmenorrhoea, dyspareunia, and dyschezia) was rated on a 0–10 point numerical rating scale. All participants completed a 240-item psychometric test (TCI-R) evaluating personality in terms of temperament and character dimensions. Main results and the role of chance: Women with painful endometriosis had lower novelty seeking compared with the control group (P = 0.017) and higher harm avoidance (P = 0.007) and lower exploratory excitability (P = 0.034) and responsibility (P = 0.027) compared with the pain-free endometriosis group, as well as higher fatigability compared with the pain-free endometriosis group (P = 0.001) and the control group (P = 0.032). Higher harm avoidance (B = 0.081; P = 0.002) and lower self-directedness (B = 20.053; P = 0.015) were associated with a greater severity of chronic pelvic pain. Limitations, reasons for caution: These study findings should be taken cautiously for several methodological reasons such as small sample size, differences in group sizes and cultural homogeneity. More research is needed to further investigate the association between personality and pelvic pain related to endometriosis. Wider implications of the findings: Our findings suggest new avenues for future research and treatment of endometriosis. The association between the severity of chronic pelvic pain and personality may help clarify the lack of a direct correlation between pain severity and the type and stage of endometriosis, as well as the inconsistencies in patients’ response to medical and/or surgical treatment. Therapeutic strategies should be specifically targeted on individual women and involve an integrated approach to the treatment of chronic pelvic pain related to endometriosis. Study funding/competing interests: There was no external funding for this study and the authors have no conflicts of interest. Trial registration number: Not applicable to this study.
- PAIN SEVERITY
- PELVIC PAIN