Researchers conducted this study to determine how much of an impact endometriosis-associated dyspareunia has on women’s lives and relationships. The present study was a qualitative study using semi-structured interviews, supplemented with quantitative data on dyspareunia’s extent. It was conducted in a dedicated endometriosis clinic in the West Midlands, UK, with 30 women aged 19 to 44.
The primary outcome measures were the extent of dyspareunia within the sample of women and the impact of dyspareunia on life quality. The experience of dyspareunia was found to be higher than in previous research. Three main themes emerged. The experience of pain was found to limit sexual activity for most of the sample, with a minority ceasing to be sexually active. Lack of sexual activity resulted in lower self-esteem and a negative effect on partners’ relationships, although the experience differed between younger and older women.
The experience of dyspareunia is a significant factor in the quality of life and relationships for women living with endometriosis. For most of the women in the study, it was very severe and reduced or curtailed sexual activity. Qualitative research can produce salient data that highlight the impact of dyspareunia on self-esteem and sexual relationships.