What is the prevalence of endometriosis?

Updated: May 10, 2021
  • Author: G Willy Davila, MD; Chief Editor: Michel E Rivlin, MD  more...
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Endometriosis occurs in 6-10% of US women in the general population, [10] and approximately 4 per 1000 women are hospitalized with this condition each year. The exact incidence in the general population is unknown, because the definitive diagnosis requires biopsy or visualization of the endometriotic implants at laparoscopy or laparotomy. Most prevalence studies are based on a surgical population in which the likelihood of disease is greater, with the best estimates of incidence in the general female coming from women with proven fertility undergoing tubal sterilization procedures

Endometriosis is an estrogen-dependent disease and, thus, usually affects reproductive-aged women. This condition has a prevalence rate of 20-50% in infertile women, [10, 27, 28, 29] but it can be as high as 71-87% in women with chronic pelvic pain. [10, 30] In a large series involving adolescent females with chronic pelvic pain, 45% were found to have endometriosis at laparoscopy. Of note, only 25% had a normal pelvis. In that series, the rate of endometriosis was found to increase with age from 12% in females aged 11-13 years to 45% in females aged 20-21 years. [31] In an earlier study, evidence of endometriosis was found during laparoscopy in 20-50% of asymptomatic women. [32] A familial association exists, with a 10-fold increased incidence in women with an affected first-degree relative. [35] Monozygotic twins are markedly concordant for endometriosis. [36]

A more recent systematic review and meta-analysis revealed a high prevalence of endometriosis among adolescent girls with pelvic pain. Of 1011 symptomatic adolescents who underwent laparoscopic investigation, 648 (64%) were found to have endometriosis.

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