Four signs you may have endometriosis

Four Signs You May Have Endometriosis

  • Severe menstrual cramping
  • Other problems during your period, such as heavy bleeding and nausea
  • Difficulty getting pregnant
  • Pain during sexual intercourse

[4 MIN READ]

Endometriosis is a common health problem for women. In the United States alone, 13.6 million women suffer with it. But the signs often go unrecognized and women simply “live with it,” not realizing that treatment is available and can often make a big difference in their lives. Learn more here.

Do you experience one or more of the following signs that could be a sign of endometriosis? If so, it might be time to see your OB/GYN for a conversation about your symptoms and next steps.

1. Your menstrual cramps are very painful

Painful, debilitating cramps during your period that worsen over time and continue regardless of lifestyle changes or medicine are the most common sign of endometriosis. Women describe this period-related pain (also called dysmenorrhea) as being so extreme that it limits their everyday lives and causes them to alter their daily routines.

Here’s why this type of pain occurs: Endometriosis is a condition in which the endometrium (tissue that is similar to the lining of the uterus) begins to grow outside of the uterus, where it doesn’t belong. This tissue can move to other areas of the abdominal cavity, including the ovaries, fallopian tubes, the bladder and bowel.

At the end of your menstrual period, this tissue breaks apart and bleeds, with no place to go. The bleeding causes abdominal pain and cramping, back cramps and/or nausea. These symptoms can be worse when you have a bowel movement or urinate during your period, and they can be severe.

2. You have other problems during your period

Some women with endometriosis experience excessive bleeding during their periods (menorrhagia). Between periods, they may have heavy bleeding (menometrorrhagia) or spotting.

Endometriosis can also cause other problems during your period, such as fatigue, diarrhea, constipation and nausea.

3. You’re having difficulty getting pregnant

About one in four women with endometriosis has difficulty getting pregnant. In fact, some women don’t even know they have endometriosis until they seek treatment for fertility issues.

Depending on how the endometriosis affects their body, women with this condition may need advanced fertility treatment to improve their chances of getting pregnant.

4. Sexual intercourse is physically uncomfortable or painful

Another symptom of endometriosis is pain during or after sex (dyspareunia). This pain can feel like it’s deep in your body, and can change depending on sexual position and where you are in your menstrual cycle.

Think you might have endometriosis? Here’s what to do next

If you’re experiencing any of these signs of endometriosis, make an appointment to see your OB/GYN. You can discuss your symptoms, learn your options for diagnosis and treatment, and develop with a plan that's right for you.

While there is no cure for endometriosis, many women find relief through treatment—often without surgery. Non-surgical treatment options include:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (such as ibuprofen) for pain relief.
  • Hormonal therapy to suppress the hormone estrogen (estrogen can make the symptoms of endometriosis worse).
  • GnRH (gonadotropin-releasing hormone) agonist, a medication that makes the body stop producing estrogen.
  • Oral contraceptives that can even out the level of estrogen throughout your cycle.

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Find a doctor

When cramps are cramping your life, find relief with a Providence OB/GYN. Search in our provider directory or find a primary care doctor in your area.

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Has medical care helped you cope with endometriosis? Tell us how at #endosupport @psjh

Relevant regional resources

California: Women's Health Services California

Texas: Covenant Health Women's Services

Washington: Women's Health Washington | Primary Care Washington

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Women with Endometriosis 'Finally Being Believed'

Endometriosis: When Cramps Stop Being Normal

Killer Cramps are Not Normal

Her Feed: Endometriosis

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

About the Author

The Providence Women's Health team is committed to providing useful and actionable insights, tips and advice to ensure women of all types can live their healthiest lives.

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