Objectives Endometriosis is a gynaecological disease most commonly causing severe and chronic pelvic pain as well as an impaired quality of life. The aim of this study was to investigate if and how endometriosis affects choices regarding professional life as well as the quality of daily working life.
Design, setting and participants In the context of a multicentre case–control study, we collected data from 505 women with surgically/histologically confirmed diagnosis of endometriosis and 505 matched controls. Study participants were recruited prospectively in hospitals and doctors’ practices in Switzerland, Germany and Austria. Using a detailed questionnaire, the study investigated work–life and career choices of study participants.
Main outcome measures Associations between endometriosis/disease symptoms and limitations in career development as well as ability to work.
Results Women with endometriosis were less often able to work in their desired profession than women from the control group (adjusted OR=1.84, 95% CI: 1.15 to 2.94, R2=0.029, p=0.001) and they had to take health-related limitations into consideration in their career decisions to a significantly higher degree than women in the control group (OR=4.79, 95% CI: 2.30 to 9.96, R2=0.063, p<0.001). Among women with endometriosis, chronic pain was significantly associated with increased sick leave (OR=3.52, 95% CI: 2.02 to 6.13, R2=0.072, p<0.001) as well as with loss of productivity at work (OR=3.08, 95% CI: 2.11 to 4.50, R2=0.087, p<0.001).
Conclusions Endometriosis is associated with impairment of professional life, in particular with regard to career choices. Further research to develop strategies to support endometriosis-affected women in realising professional opportunities is recommended.
Trial registration number NCT02511626; Pre-results.
- professional life
- career choice
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Contributors MLS: collection of data on site in Solothurn and Schaffhausen, interpretation of data, drafting and finalisation of the manuscript. MPH: statistical analysis, interpretation of data, finalisation of manuscript. AKS: investigator, collection of data on site in Winterthur, Switzerland, verification of surgical reports, finalisation of the manuscript. KG: concept of study, collection of data on site in Zurich, management databank, finalisation of the manuscript. MR: investigator, collection of data on site in Berlin, Germany, finalisation of the manuscript. MMW: investigator, collection of data on site in Aachen, Germany, and in Graz, Austria, finalisation of the manuscript. FH: investigator, collection of data on site in St. Gallen, Switzerland, finalisation of the manuscript. SvO: investigator, collection of data on site in Zurich, Switzerland, finalisation of the manuscript. ME: investigator, collection of data on site in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, finalisation of the manuscript. FM: concept of study, investigator on site in Solothurn, Switzerland, finalisation of manuscript. BI: concept of study, investigator on site in Zurich, Switzerland, interpretation of data, finalisation of manuscript. PI: concept of study, investigator and data collection in Zurich, Switzerland, finalisation of the manuscript. BL: principal investigator, concept and conduct of study, investigator on site in Zurich, Switzerland, collection and analysis of data, preparation and finalisation of manuscript.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent Obtained.
Ethics approval Cantonal Ethics Committee Zurich, St Gallen, etc.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data sharing statement The data set is available on request from the corresponding author.