Endometriosis can be a painful and disruptive condition, affecting around 10% of women†. Yet many sufferers report an all-round lack of understanding and support
Not everyone gets the endometriosis support they need.
We’re here to make a difference.
Getting a diagnosis and help for endometriosis can be challenging. On average, it takes 8 years to get a diagnosis. Before that, 58% of sufferers will visit their GP at least 10 times, and over a quarter will go to A&E with severe symptoms.
These findings come from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Endometriosis’ Inquiry Report 2020 (PDF 1.7MB) , which also found that:
Endometriosis and infertility
Endometriosis is a known cause of infertility. Yet many women with endometriosis struggle to get a referral for infertility treatment.†
The good news is that seven in 10 women with mild to moderate endometriosis will get pregnant without needing treatment.†† But overall, if you’re under the age of 35 and you have endometriosis, you’re twice as likely to have problems getting pregnant.†
If you do need fertility treatment, there are several options.††† These can depend on the stage of your endometriosis, your age, and how long you’ve been trying to get pregnant.
Our endometriosis symptoms diary
could help you talk to your doctor
Diagnosing endometriosis isn’t always straightforward. Our endometriosis diary could help you track your symptoms, and that could help you talk to your GP or consultant about what you noticed, when, and for how long
How to support someone with endometriosis
If someone you care about has endometriosis, it can be really difficult to watch them struggle with the symptoms and effects. You may find it hard to understand what’s going on, let alone know how best to help. Our guide may help
"Getting access to the right treatments and support, at the right time and in the right place with access to skilled and experienced healthcare practitioners, gives the best chance for endometriosis to be managed effectively."
Emma Cox, Chief Executive, Endometriosis UK†
"I remember a few occasions when the stabbing pain was so bad, I couldn’t physically move. I threw up on a tube train, and ended up in hospital. Everyone kept saying, “Oh, it’s period pains don’t worry...”
Sarah, February 2021
"My hope of ever getting pregnant ended when I had to have my uterus and ovaries removed due to endometriosis. It was hard on me mentally. However, it was also a blessing in disguise, as I was able to put that hope finally to rest, along with the pain of endometriosis. Instead, I focused on how lucky my husband and I are to have been allowed to adopt an orphan boy in need of parents.”
Irene, February 2021
"Most of my symptoms were similar to IBS - stomach pain, bloating and erratic changes in bowel movements. I started my periods when I was almost 16 and they were very heavy, usually seven to eight days long. I would often get numbness (I used to say it felt like tingles) down the top of my thighs. I’d never linked the trouble with my periods and the IBS-like symptoms together.”
Hollie, February 2021
“Throughout all of the time from the age of 12 to 20, I’ve spent so much of my life off of school and now work. Every two to three months, I end up in hospital for a week or two when I can’t cope with the pain at home and I get dehydrated. I wanted to become a nurse and started university, but it was cut short as I couldn’t physically cope with the demands of the role due to my symptoms.”
Ellen, February 2021
“I had a real problem with fatigue. I’d get home from work and just go straight to bed. I had no social life and my partner had to take on more roles, doing all the food shopping and jobs around the house, just to enable me to have enough energy to go to work.”
Sue, December 2020
Can Bupa help me with my endometriosis?
We understand how difficult it can be to get a diagnosis and treatment for endometriosis, so we’re committed to making a difference. Below, you’ll see what your options and first steps could be, depending on whether you have health insurance or not. Our FAQs, further down, offer more detail on some of the treatments we could offer.
Endometriosis support and information from Bupa’s experts
Other online resources offering endometriosis information and support
We understand that endometriosis is a particularly challenging condition, and it can be hard to get the information and help you need. So here are some websites that could help.
Here’s a selection of questions and answers that have already helped our customers.
Yes. We can cover the cost of tests, to see if you have endometriosis, as well as some treatments. There is no known cure for endometriosis, so it’s classed as a 'chronic’ (ongoing) condition and we can’t cover treatment for the underlying condition. However, we can cover any eligible treatments for acute flare-ups of a chronic condition such as endometriosis.
So if your symptoms suddenly worsen, we could fund endometriosis treatments such as:
- a short course of hormone therapy, such as a coil, administered by your consultant
- endometrial ablation, which is the removal of the lining of your womb
- surgery on your ovaries, if endometriosis has caused cysts that need removing
- a hysterectomy if other treatments haven’t been successful.
This would be on the condition that the treatment/s are likely to lead to a complete recovery quickly, or to your being fully restored to your previous state of health without having to receive prolonged treatment.
Any tests, appointments and treatments must be in line with what your doctor or consultant recommends, and within your policy limits. Please note that the above treatments are not suitable if you’re trying to get pregnant: in that case, only pain medication is open to you.
- If you bought your health insurance yourself, the answer is no. Infertility treatment is excluded from your cover (see exclusion 5 in your policy).
- If your employer provides your cover, then check your policy or ask at work, as some businesses do choose to include cover for infertility treatment.
Yes, as long as your policy covers mental health conditions. We could refer you to a consultant or therapist, for example.
You could start exploring your options by:
- talking to a Bupa nurse 24/7 via our Bupa Anytime HealthLine
- talking to your registered GP (you could also do this by phone or video using the Digital GP service provided by Babylon‡‡ or another digital GP service)
- calling us on 0808 256 1766.^
^ Calls may be recorded, and to maintain the quality of our service we may monitor some of our calls, always respecting the confidentiality of the call.
Endometriosis is linked to your monthly menstrual cycle, so it tends to settle after menopause. Women who experience mild endometriosis symptoms can usually manage with painkillers and self-help, such as rest and a hot water bottle. However, infertility is still a possibility.
For those with more advanced stages of endometriosis, untreated endometriosis could mean severe pelvic pain, very heavy periods, abdominal adhesions, ovarian cysts, and infertility. In extreme cases, it is possible to develop an ectopic pregnancy or a bowel obstruction, both of which could be life-threatening‡‡‡ .
Yes. You can:
- access the expert advice and support in our Women’s Health Hub
- purchase our Bupa Menopause Plan. This includes two virtual appointments, prescriptions or referrals (if required), and a personal care plan from a GP who’s been specially trained in the menopause.
And if you have private health insurance, you can additionally:
- make an appointment with the Digital GP service (provided by Babylon) to talk about your symptoms.‡‡
- call our Bupa Anytime Healthline to speak to a menopause-trained nurse, 24/7.
- get mental health support for any symptoms related to the menopause.
Women turning to Google for 'abnormal' health worries
Recent research from Bupa Health Clinics reveals an increase in searches on Google for women's health concerns.
† Endometriosis in the UK: time for change (PDF 1.7MB) − A report from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Endometriosis.
††† Please note that infertility treatment is not covered by private health insurance.
‡‡ Members who live in the Isle of Man can access GP24 by HealthHero instead. Digital GP services are provided by Babylon Healthcare Services Limited. Registered in England and Wales No. 09229684. Registered office: 60 Sloane Avenue, London SW3 3DD. Digital GP is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority.
^ Lines are open 8am - 8pm Monday to Friday, 8am-4pm Saturdays. We may record or monitor our calls.