Stigma and endometriosis: A brief overview and recommendations to improve psychosocial well-being and diagnostic delay

Academic Article

Abstract

  • Endometriosis is a chronic gynecological disease that affects approximately 1 in 10 women of reproductive age. Symptoms of severe pelvic pain, infertility, fatigue, and abnormal menstruation can cause significant negative effects on an individual’s physical and mental health, including interactions with their family, friends, and health care providers. Stigma associated with endometriosis has been under-studied and is rarely discussed in current literature. Herein, this paper aims to provide a brief overview of published literature to explore and establish the plausibility of stigma as a driver of suboptimal psychosocial well-being and diagnostic delay among individuals living with endometriosis. We present the clinical characteristics and physical and mental health consequences associated with endometriosis, highlight several theoretical constructs of stigma, and review the limited studies documenting women’s lived experiences of endometriosis-related stigma. To mitigate harmful effects of this phenomenon, we recommend increasing efforts to assess the prevalence of and to characterize endometriosis-related stigma, implementing awareness campaigns, and developing interventions that combat the multidimensional negative effects of stigma on timely care, treatment, and quality of life for individuals living with endometriosis.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Sims OT; Gupta J; Missmer SA; Aninye IO
  • Volume

  • 18
  • Issue

  • 15