Persistent pelvic pain affects between 10–20% of women with a significant impact on their physical and mental health, sexual relationships, families and society. Estimates of the cost to women and the community is over $9 billion/annum. Although endometriosis is considered a leading cause of pelvic pain, no symptoms reliably allow the identification of those with and without endometriosis. Furthermore, the significance of mild endometriosis is now debated. The optimal clinical approach for pelvic pain and endometriosis remains unclear, with increasing evidence of other contributing factors such as central sensitisation. Studies to date have significant limitations due to their sample size, relatively short follow‐up, and inclusion of only women with laparoscopically identified endometriosis.
To undertake a real‐world study of women referred with pain to gynaecology outpatients of a women’s hospital and explore factors influencing three‐year outcomes.
Materials and methods
Five hundred women will be randomised to one of two gynaecology units. The units will provide routine clinical care but their approaches to management of women with pelvic pain and endometriosis differ: one with skilled endoscopic gynaecologists has greater emphasis on surgery, the other, gynaecologists have more medical expertise in managing pain and menstrual problems. Participants will complete six‐monthly questionnaires regarding pain and quality of life for three years. This information will not be available to clinicians. Their medical care will be followed from their medical records. The cost of outpatient care and admissions will be calculated. Data will be analysed using STATA software with appropriate post hoc tests. Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR:ACTRN12616000150448).