The impact of endometriosis: new study looks at how it affects partners

impact of endometriosis

Endometriosis is a devastating and often extremely painful condition that many women suffer with. However, as a recent study highlights, the condition doesn’t just affect the woman’s quality of life; it can also significantly affect her partner too.

The emotional and devastating impact of endometriosis on male partners is often overlooked. The majority of studies conducted over the years have been carried out on women. This ‘Endometriosis on Partners’, study is one of the first to delve into the male perspective and experience and its results are pretty surprising.

The impact of endometriosis on partners

The recent study looked at the perspective of 51 male partners. They were given questionnaires asking them about the impact endometriosis had on their lives. The goal was to assess the psychological impact of the condition on male partners.

The results showed some comprehensive common themes including:

  • Intimacy issues
  • Low mood
  • Anxiety
  • Powerlessness
  • Issues planning to start a family

What was most surprising, was it appears men go through a very similar grief-like process as the women themselves.

Seventy per cent of the men questioned claimed endometriosis had either severely or moderately affected their lives. Their sex lives in particular were reportedly significantly affected according to 74%. Many have been unable to have sex with their partner due to the pain caused by the condition.

It isn’t just emotional trauma male partners go through. The financial burden can also be really tough, as many women are forced to either work part time, or quit work altogether because of the symptoms. This means it falls solely to the male partner to provide for the family financially. Having endometriosis does not necessarily mean a woman cannot work, but for many women this is the reality.

More engagement is required during diagnosis

One of the key findings the study revealed is that more needs to be done to support male partners during the diagnosis. A staggering 92% of respondents admitted they felt helpless, frustrated and worried when the diagnosis was delivered.

The time it took to receive a diagnosis was also listed as a frustration, and most felt disengaged with the practitioner. In fact, just 34% felt that they had been engaged during the diagnosis and provided help and support in making decisions.

Eighty per cent of the men also claimed they didn’t receive any information at all regarding how the condition affects couples. This highlights the need for better education, more partner engagement and much more support in the treatment and decision-making process.

Overall, endometriosis may not necessarily affect fertility and even, in severe cases, many women are still able to go on to conceive naturally. However, the emotional toll the condition takes on the couple can lead to other intimacy issues which would reduce their chances of starting a family. Therefore, more does need to be done to support couples and especially male partners, in order to address fertility issues.