To summarize the available qualitative and quantitative evidence regarding the impact of endometriosis on women’s partners.
A systematic electronic search of PubMed and PsycINFO was conducted. All the available evidence regarding partners’ psychological condition, quality of life, social and intimate relationships, and sexuality was included, and a narrative synthesis of the findings was provided.
Of 127 studies retrieved through electronic search, only 5 (3 qualitative/semi-qualitative and 2 quantitative studies) matched the inclusion criteria and were included in our review. In total, participants were 399 male partners. Endometriosis negatively affects partners’ psychological wellbeing and quality of life, with significant individual differences. Partners of women with endometriosis may experience isolation and lack of engagement in treatment decision-making. Partners also experience the economic burden of the disease, with negative consequences on work functioning and daily life. Sexuality is also negatively affected, although with contradictory findings. Positive aspects of personal and relationship growth were also reported.
Endometriosis is an important cause of physical and psychological pain for women, but it may also have a negative impact on their partners. Although the effects of other chronic diseases on partners and caregivers have been largely explored, the small number of articles included in this review indicates that this topic remains understudied in endometriosis research. Endometriosis should be investigated and managed within a systemic framework, with a specific focus on the complex dynamic interaction between individual, relational, sociocultural and environmental factors.
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