Background: The relationship between frequency and severity of pain symptoms and site, stage and morphological characteristics of endometriotic lesions was analysed in a multicentre cross-sectional observational study. Methods: A total of 469 women (median age 31 years, range 18-45) who met the following criteria were consecutively observed in the participating centres during the study period: age 18-45 years, first laparoscopic or laparotomic diagnosis of endometriosis, pain symptoms lasting ≥6 months, pain as the main or only complaint of the condition, absence of pelvic anomalies and no previous pelvic surgery. Dysmenorrhoea and non-menstrual pain were evaluated using a multidimensional verbal rating scale. The women were requested to grade the severity of dysmenorrhoea, non-menstrual pelvic pain and deep dyspareunia using a 10-point linear analogue scale. Results: Dysmenorrhoea was present in 77% of subjects with ovarian endometriosis, 88% of those with endometriosis of the peritoneum, 92% of subjects with endometriosis of both ovary and peritoneum and in all the subjects with endometriosis of rectovaginal septum. These differences were not statistically significant after Bonferroni's correction. No marked difference emerged between the severity of dysmenorrhoea and site of endometriosis, but women with ovarian endometriosis tended to have lower scores (not significant). No clear association emerged between frequency and severity of non-menstrual pain, dyspareunia and site of endometriosis and the presence and severity of dysmenorrhoea, non-menstrual pain and dyspareunia. Dyspareunia was more frequently reported in women with only atypical endometriosis (56.8%) versus 47.7% in women with typical endometriosis, but with borderline significance (P = 0.05). Dyspareunia occurred in 68.2% of patients with both typical and atypical lesions. Conclusions: The results of this study find no clear-cut association between stage, site or morphological characteristics of pelvic endometriosis and pain.
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