Symptoms of endometriosis
One of the most common symptoms of endometriosis is pain in your pelvis, which is usually worse just before and during your period. The endometriosis pain may get worse over time and you may find that it doesn’t get better when you take over-the-counter painkillers, such as ibuprofen.
Other endometriosis symptoms include:
- pain during sex
- heavy periods
- extreme tiredness (fatigue)
- difficulty getting pregnant (conceiving)
There are some fewer common symptoms of endometriosis.
- Endometriosis on your bowel can cause pain when you poo (have a bowel movement). You may have blood in your poo during your period too.
- If you have endometriosis on your bladder, it can be painful when you pee (pass urine). You may also see blood in your pee.
These symptoms can also be caused by conditions other than endometriosis. So if you have any of them, see a GP.
Symptoms of endometriosis often ease during pregnancy, and they may disappear without any treatment.
Some women have no symptoms of endometriosis. You may only find out that you’ve got it after having tests for something else, such as infertility.
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The best way to confirm a diagnosis of endometriosis is with a laparoscopy. In a laparoscopy, a doctor will put a laparoscope (a narrow tube with an eyepiece) into your tummy through a small cut. This will allow them to look inside and to take a small sample of tissue (biopsy). You have a general anaesthetic, so you’ll be asleep.
See our section: Diagnosis of endometriosis above for more information.
Hormonal treatment for endometriosis can help to ease your pain, but doctors don’t think it increases your chance of getting pregnant. Having laparoscopic surgery to remove or destroy patches of endometriosis may potentially improve your fertility. Fertility treatments may be an option to help you get pregnant if you have endometriosis. Ask your gynaecologist for more information.
The severity of endometriosis can vary – while some people don’t have any symptoms, for others, they can be severe. Endometriosis can also lead to complications, such as difficulty getting pregnant (infertility) and ovarian cysts, which may rupture. This can be very painful but is rare.
See our section: Complications of endometriosis above for more information.
Nothing will necessarily happen if endometriosis is left untreated. There isn’t any evidence that endometriosis will progress and get worse if you don’t get treatment. So, if you don’t have symptoms, your doctor won’t usually recommend treatment. But if you do develop symptoms, it will usually become necessary.
See our section: Treatment of endometriosis above for more information.
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This information was published by Bupa's Health Content Team and is based on reputable sources of medical evidence. It has been reviewed by appropriate medical or clinical professionals and deemed accurate on the date of review. Photos are only for illustrative purposes and do not reflect every presentation of a condition.
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Reviewed by Rachael Mayfield-Blake, Freelance Health Editor, January 2023 Expert reviewer, Dr Madhavi Vellayan, Consultant Gynaecologist Next review due January 2026
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