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Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 1997 Jul;74(1):57-62.

The relationship between laparoscopic disease, pelvic pain and infertility; an unbiased assessment.

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Institute of Epidemiology and Health Services Research, University of Leeds, UK.



To measure the relationship between laparoscopically detected pelvic pathology and pelvic pain or infertility.


Women undergoing diagnostic laparoscopy either for the investigation of pelvic pain, for sterilisation or for the investigation of infertility were studied. The indication for surgery was recorded before laparoscopy. At operation a series of 35-mm slide photographs were taken of the pelvis and later scored by two independent assessors without knowledge of the indication for surgery.


Satisfactory photographs were obtained in 298 women. Minimal endometriosis was not associated with pain (adjusted OR 1.3; 0.5-2.8), although moderate disease was non-significantly so (2.5; 0.4-7.1). Severe disease was significantly more common and never occurred in patients being sterilised (P = 0.02). The odds of pain were not increased in the presence of dilated veins > 9 mm diameter (OR 1.1; 0.4-3.2) or adhesions (OR 0.6; 0.2-4.7). The odds of infertility were non-significantly increased in the presence of minimal and moderate endometriosis (OR 2.0; 0.8-5.3, and OR 4.2; 0.6-25 respectively) and again significantly more common in the presence of advanced disease (P = 0.002). The odds of infertility tended to be lower in the presence of severely dilated veins (OR 0.2; 0.032-1.2). There was no clear effect of adhesions (OR 0.9; 0.1-5.9).


The long established associations between severe endometriosis and pelvic pain, and between endometriosis in general and infertility are confirmed. However there is little or no association between minimal endometriosis, pelvic adhesions or dilated pelvic veins and pain. Previously reported associations may have been an artefact of the surgeon's knowledge of the indication for operation when assessing the pelvis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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