Prevalence

The prevalence is estimated to be 8-10% in women in the reproductive years [1], although the precise rate in the general population is unknown because the pelvis has to be inspected at surgery to make a definitive diagnosis. In symptomatic women, the reported rates vary from 2 to 100% (Table 44.1) for which several explanations exist: (1) 'subtle' (e.g. small, non-coloured) peritoneal lesions were not recognized before 1985, leading to an apparent increased prevalence since then; (2) recognition increases with the surgeon's experience and interest in endometrio-sis; (3) the indication for laparoscopy influences how meticulously the pelvis is inspected, and (4) histological confirmation (close to 100% for deep lesions and at best 60% for subtle lesions) is not always obtained or reported. Whatever the true prevalence, it remains possible that the most common manifestation - subtle endometriosis - may not be a disease entity at all [2].

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