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Papers: 20 Jan 2024 - 26 Jan 2024

2024 Jan 19

J Pain


Mental health outcomes of endometriosis patients during the COVID-19 pandemic: Impact of pre-pandemic central nervous system sensitization.


Liu YD, Noga H, Allaire C, Bedaiwy MA, Lee CE, Williams C, Booth A, Galea LA, Kaida A, Ogilvie GS, Brotto LA, Yong PJ


To correlate pain-related phenotyping for central nervous system sensitization in endometriosis-associated pain with mental health outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic, the prospective Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain Interdisciplinary Cohort (EPPIC, ClinicalTrials.gov #NCT02911090) was linked to the COVID-19 Rapid Evidence Study of a Provincial Population Based Cohort for Gender and Sex (RESPPONSE) dataset. The primary outcomes were depression (PHQ-9) and anxiety (GAD-7) scores during the pandemic. The explanatory variables of interest were the Central Sensitization Inventory (CSI) score (0-100) and endometriosis-associated chronic pain comorbidities/psychological variables before the pandemic. The explanatory and response variables were assessed for correlation, followed by multivariable regression analyses adjusting for PHQ-9 and GAD-7 scores pre-pandemic as well as age, BMI, and parity. A higher CSI score and a greater number of chronic pain comorbidities before the pandemic were both positively correlated with PHQ-9 and GAD-7 scores during the pandemic. These associations remained significant in adjusted analyses. Increasing the CSI score by 10 was associated with an increase in pandemic PHQ-9 by 0.74 points (p<0.0001) and GAD-7 by 0.73 points (p<0.0001) on average. Each additional comorbidity/variable was associated with an increase in pandemic PHQ-9 by an average of 0.63 points (p=0.0004) and GAD-7 by 0.53 points (p=0.0002). Endometriosis patients with a history of central sensitization before the pandemic had worse mental health outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a risk factor for mental health symptoms in the face of major stressors, clinical proxies for central sensitization can be used to identify endometriosis patients who may need additional support. PERSPECTIVE: This article adds to the growing literature of the clinical importance of central sensitization in endometriosis patients, who had more symptoms of depression and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic. Clinical features of central sensitization may help clinicians identify endometriosis patients needing additional support when facing major stressors.