Nowadays, combined oral contraceptives (COCs) are successfully employed for the treatment of endometriosis (END) and adenomyosis (AD) in a large proportion of patients. However, literature focusing on the clinical and sonographic response to treatment in the long-term follow-up of patients with deep endometriosis (DE) and AD is scarce. The aim of this study was to evaluate the changes in the symptoms and the sonographic exams at 12 and 24 months of follow-up in patients who had received a flexible extended COC regimen containing 2 mg of dienogest/30 μg ethinyl estradiol. This prospective, longitudinal, observational study included women diagnosed with DE and AD presenting no surgical indication and were candidates to treatment with COCs. The presence and severity of dysmenorrhea, non-menstrual pelvic pain, deep dyspareunia, dyschezia and dysuria were evaluated using the Numerical Rating Scale (NRS) at baseline, and at 12 and 24 months of treatment. Transvaginal ultrasound was also performed at these check points searching for criteria of AD and reporting the size of the DE nodules and ovarian endometriomas (OE). Sixty-four patients were included. A significant decrease in the number of patients with severe dysmenorrhea and non-menstrual pelvic pain was reported during follow-up. The mean NRS score for dysmenorrhea, non-menstrual pelvic pain, deep dyspareunia, dyschezia and dysuria was also significantly lower at follow-up. There was a significant reduction in the sonographic number and type of AD criteria during follow-up after treatment. Similarly, a significant decrease in the size of OE and uterosacral ligament involvement in DE was observed at the 12-month follow-up, with a further, albeit not statistically significant, decrease in the 12- to 24-month follow-up. Additionally, torus and rectosigmoid DE decreased in size, although the reduction was not statistically significant at any study point. This prospective study suggests a clinical and sonographic improvement after a flexible extended COC regimen in DE and AD patients, which was significant at 12 months of follow-up. The improvement was more evident in AD and OEs compared with DE. Further research with a longer follow-up, larger sample size and comparison with other treatments is needed.
© 2023. The Author(s).