Endometriosis does not always produce symptoms. When it does, it can cause:
- Painful periods
- Pain during intercourse
- Pelvic pain unrelated to periods or intercourse
- Other symptoms
In some women, the only sign of endometriosis may be infertility. Occasionally, endometriosis is discovered unexpectedly during an exam or surgery for an unrelated condition.
Need To Know:
Endometriosis can cause a variety of symptoms ranging from mild to severe. This is because the amount and distribution of endometriosis varies in women - and also because the disease doesn't always behave in the same way in everyone.
There is no correlation between the extent of endometriosis and the level of pain a woman experiences.
Many (although not all) women with endometriosis will experience deep pain that occurs when they have their period, a condition known as
- Lower abdomen
- Rear pelvic area
This pain usually begins from 5 to 7 days before the heaviest menstrual flow and lasts for 2 to 3 days. This type of pain differs from normal menstrual pain, which is more cramp-like and concentrated in the mid-abdomen.
Painful intercourse, or
Women with endometriosis may experience pelvic pain that seems to be unrelated to
Recent research indicates that the pain of endometriosis is linked to inflammation, not bleeding, around the misplaced endometriosis tissue. Chemicals within the body such as
Endometrial tissue attached to other locations may produce different symptoms. Women with endometrial tissue attached to non-reproductive organs such as the large intestine or bladder may experience:
- Abdominal swelling and pain when moving the bowels
- Painful urination
- Bleeding from the
- Nausea or vomiting that worsen before menstruation
- A painful swelling of the
umbilicus, or belly button
Conditions That Can Cause Similar Symptoms
There are a number of conditions that can cause symptoms similar to endometriosis, including:
- A problem with an intrauterine device (IUD), which is used for birth control
- Pelvic infection
- Ovarian cysts caused by other conditions
- Painful periods, where no specific cause has been found
- Psychosexual problems, such as an extremely distressing past experience (for example, a rape or sexual abuse)