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Psychotherapy With Somatosensory Stimulation for Endometriosis-Associated Pain

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To evaluate whether psychotherapy with somatosensory stimulation is effective for the treatment of pain and quality of life in patients with endometriosis-related pain.


Patients with a history of endometriosis and chronic pelvic pain were randomized to either psychotherapy with somatosensory stimulation (ie, different techniques of acupuncture point stimulation) or wait-list control for 3 months, after which all patients were treated. The primary outcome was brain connectivity assessed by functional magnetic resonance imaging. Prespecified secondary outcomes included pain on 11-point numeric rating scales (maximal and average global pain, pelvic pain, dyschezia, and dyspareunia) and physical and mental quality of life. A sample size of 30 per group was planned to compare outcomes in the treatment group and the wait-list control group.


From March 2010 through March 2012, 67 women (mean age 35.6 years) were randomly allocated to intervention (n=35) or wait-list control (n=32). In comparison with wait-list controls, treated patients showed improvements after 3 months in maximal global pain (mean group difference −2.1, 95% confidence interval [CI] −3.4 to −0.8; P=.002), average global pain (−2.5, 95% CI −3.5 to −1.4; P<.001), pelvic pain (−1.4, 95% CI −2.7 to −0.1; P=.036), dyschezia (−3.5, 95% CI −5.8 to −1.3; P=.003), physical quality of life (3.8, 95% CI 0.5–7.1, P=.026), and mental quality of life (5.9, 95% CI 0.6–11.3; P=.031); dyspareunia improved nonsignificantly (−1.8, 95% CI −4.4 to 0.7; P=.150). Improvements in the intervention group remained stable at 6 and 24 months, and control patients showed comparable symptom relief after delayed intervention.


Psychotherapy with somatosensory stimulation reduced global pain, pelvic pain, and dyschezia and improved quality of life in patients with endometriosis. After 6 and 24 months, when all patients were treated, both groups showed stable improvements.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2016

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