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) and infertility. Pelvic pain usually occurs during or just before menstruation and lessens after menstruation. Some women experience painful sexual intercourse (dyspareunia) or cramping during intercourse, and or/pain during bowel movements and/or urination. Even pelvic examination by a doctor can be painful. 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 may 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, 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: 30years later, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 14

I started having pain at age sixteen, it was not until age 21 I found out I had endometriosis. I have seen several doctors over a period of years and the one I have now has been my obstetrician/gynecologist for over 30 years. I take strong painkillers. I do have some pain but I changed my diet to lots of fruits and vegetables and this has helped. I am at a point in my life that I am so tired of this that I don"t know what to do. I am still not sure about surgery. I just want pain relief. This disease can and will ruin a relationship.

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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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