Experimental pain tolerance is decreased and independent of clinical pain intensity in patients with endometriosis

Mieke van Aken, Joukje Oosterman, Tineke van Rijn, Kelly Woudsma, Magdalena Ferdek, Gé Ruigt, Tamas Kozicz, Didi Braat, Ard Peeters, Annemiek Nap

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective: To investigate alterations in tactile, pain thresholds and pain tolerance thresholds in patients with endometriosis using a multimodality approach. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Multidisciplinary referral center. Patient(s): Women with proven endometriosis (N = 35) and healthy controls (N = 38). Intervention(s): Pain processing was tested using quantitative sensory testing (QST) to investigate sensation, pain, and pain tolerance thresholds for thermal, electrical, and pressure stimuli. Main Outcome Measure(s): Differences in QST measures in patients with endometriosis and in healthy controls on the endometriosis site and control sites, and the association between QST outcomes and patient characteristics. Result(s): We observed a significantly decreased pain tolerance in patients with endometriosis, independent of clinical pain intensity or revised American Society for Reproductive Medicine stage, compared with healthy controls. Conclusion(s): Increasing knowledge concerning mechanisms underlying the pain of women with endometriosis creates opportunities to develop new treatment options. More attention should be paid not only to treat endometriosis in a surgical or pharmacologic way, but also to desensitize by pain education or cognitive therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1118-1128
Number of pages11
JournalFertility and sterility
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2018


  • Endometriosis
  • intrasubject reliability
  • pain
  • pain processing
  • quantitative sensory testing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Experimental pain tolerance is decreased and independent of clinical pain intensity in patients with endometriosis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this