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Papers of the Week

Papers: 19 Feb 2022 - 25 Feb 2022


Human Studies

2022 Feb 21

Front Neuroendocrinol

Endometriosis, psychiatric comorbidities and neuroimaging: Estimating the odds of an endometriosis brain.


Maulitz L, Stickeler E, Stickel S, Habel U, Tchaikovski SN, Chechko N
Front Neuroendocrinol. 2022 Feb 21:100988.
PMID: 35202605.


Endometriosis is a chronic pain disorder that affects young women, impairing their physical, mental and social well-being. Apart from personal suffering, it imposes a significant economic burden on the healthcare system. We analyzed studies reporting comorbid mental disorders in endometriosis based on the ICD/DSM criteria, discussing them in the context of available neuroimaging studies. We postulate that at least one-third of endometriosis patients suffer from mental disorders (mostly depression or anxiety) and require psychiatric or psychotherapeutic support. According to three neuroimaging studies involving patients with endometriosis, brain regions related not only to pain processing but also to emotion, cognition, self-regulation and reward likely constitute the so-called "endometriosis brain". It is not clear, however, whether the neurobiological changes seen in these patients are caused by chronic pain, mental comorbidities or endometriosis itself. Given the paucity of high-quality data on mental comorbidities and neurobiological correlates in endometriosis, further research is needed.