Endometriosis - Symptoms

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The symptoms of endometriosis can vary greatly from patient to patient. What were your symptoms?

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What are endometriosis symptoms?

Most women who have endometriosis, in fact, do not have symptoms. Of those who do experience symptoms, the common symptoms are:

  • Pain (usually pelvic) that usually occurs just before menstruation and lessens after menstruation
  • Painful sexual intercourse
  • Cramping during intercourse
  • Cramping or pain during bowel movements or urination
  • Infertility
  • Painful pelvic exam

The pain intensity can change from month to month, and vary greatly among women. Some women experience progressive worsening of symptoms, while others can have resolution of pain without treatment.

Pelvic pain in women with endometriosis depends partly on where the implants of endometriosis are located.

  • Deeper implants and implants in areas with many pain-sensing nerves may be more likely to produce pain.
  • The implants may also produce substances that circulate in the bloodstream and cause pain.
  • Lastly, pain can result when endometriosis implants form scars. There is no relationship between severity of pain and how widespread the endometriosis is (the "stage" of endometriosis).

Endometriosis can be one of the reasons for infertility for otherwise healthy couples. When laparoscopic examinations are performed for infertility evaluations, endometrial implants can be found in some of these patients, many of whom do not have painful symptoms of endometriosis. The reasons for a decrease in fertility are not completely understood, but might be due to both anatomic and hormonal factors. The presence of endometriosis may involve masses of tissue or scarring (adhesions) within the pelvis that may distort normal anatomical structures, such as Fallopian tubes, which transport the eggs from the ovaries. Alternatively, endometriosis may affect fertility through the production of hormones and other substances that have a negative effect on ovulation, fertilization of the egg, and/or implantation of the embryo.

Other symptoms that can be related to endometriosis include:

  • lower abdominal pain,
  • diarrhea and/or constipation,
  • low back pain,
  • chronic fatigue
  • irregular or heavy menstrual bleeding,
  • painful urination, or
  • blood in the urine.

Rare symptoms of endometriosis include chest pain or coughing blood due to endometriosis in the lungs and headache and/or seizures due to endometriosis in the brain.

Return to Endometriosis

See what others are saying

Comment from: Jean, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 21

I am 58 years old. I was diagnosed with endometriosis at 16. The doctor said I would probably never have children. I hadn"t even graduated from high school yet and I was devastated. I had been having so much pain and heavy bleeding. The pain would cause me to vomit and I would have to leave school. I married at 19 and continued to have pain, but birth control pills helped. Unfortunately I had to stop taking them due to migraine headaches associated with the pill. I still dreamed of having my own child, but the doctor said my chances were one in a million. I found another doctor who treated infertility and under his care I beat those odds and had a wonderful son. At 37 years old I slipped and fell and a chocolate ovarian cyst broke inside of me. I hemorrhaged for 5 days before I was taken seriously and surgery was done. I nearly died from blood loss and was extremely ill. Eight weeks later I had a total hysterectomy. My health was restored and I felt wonderful for the first time since I was a young girl.

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Comment from: madeline.lowery, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: June 12

I was diagnosed with endometriosis after an ectopic pregnancy when I was 21. When I'm having my period the pain in my pelvis is so great during this time that I'm only able to be active for about a half hour before needing to sit or lay back down. Over the counter medicine does seem to relieve my pain. And applying heat helps significantly. Also during menstruation my lower back aches like it is bruised and I get so exhausted that I fall asleep doing anything where I sit still for a few minutes. It's truly debilitating for the days that I'm bleeding.

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