Endometriosis is a long-term condition, where tissue (similar to the lining of the womb) starts to grow in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes. It is a chronic and often debilitating condition that can cause painful or heavy periods. It may also lead to infertility, fatigue and bowel and bladder problems.
1 in 10 women of reproductive age in the UK suffer from endometriosis. [source]
Endometriosis is the second most common gynaecological condition in the UK. [source]
In This Section
The symptoms of Endometriosis can be difficult to diagnose as they can vary between patients. Some women may hardly notice the symptoms while others can be severely affected. These are the main symptoms:
- lower tummy or back pain in the pelvic area which usually feels worse during your period
- not being able to do normal activities because of period pain
- pain during or after sex •
- during your period it is painful when peeing or pooing •
- feeling sick, constipation, diarrhoea, or blood in your pee during your period
- difficulty getting pregnant •
- heavy periods
When to see a doctor
If any of the symptoms above are impacting on your daily life through chronic pain, fatigue, lack of energy, depression, isolation, sex life, relationship, inability to conceive or difficulty fulfilling commitments for work or socially, then you should discuss these symptoms with your GP.
As many other conditions can cause similar symptoms to endometriosis, It can be difficult to get an accurate diagnose. This is because the symptoms can vary considerably between patients and the only definitive way to diagnose endometriosis is by a laparoscopy. A laparoscopy is a surgical procedure where a thin tube is passed through a small cut in your tummy to allow the surgeon to see if there are patches of endometriosis tissue. If your GP suspects that you have endometriosis you may get referred to a gynaecologist for further tests before a laparoscopy is required.
The treatment options available for women with endometriosis are surgery, hormone treatment & pain relief. However, there is currently no cure for endometriosis and the treatments available are aimed at reducing the severity of the symptoms, to help improve the quality of life, and will differ between patients depending on individual circumstances.
Things to remember
- Endometriosis is not an infection
- Endometriosis is not contagious
- Endometriosis is not cancer
- With the right treatment, many of the symptoms can be made more manageable.