In endometriosis, tissue similar to the lining of the womb grows outside the womb (endometrial implants). This typically causes lower abdominal pain and heavy and painful periods. Less serious cases are treated with painkillers, while more severe cases may require hormone tablets and surgery.
- Lower abdominal pain which can radiate to the back or legs
- Heavy and painful periods
- Pain during intercourse
Symptoms are typically associated with the menstrual cycle: they usually start one to three days before the period and subside again after peak bleeding. The symptoms depend on the affected area. During menopause, hormonal stimulation falls away and the symptoms mostly disappear.
- Fatigue, exhaustion
- Blood in urine (if the bladder is affected)
- Blood in stools (if the gastrointestinal tract is affected)
- Ectopic pregnancy, infertility
Causes and treatment
- The exact cause is unknown; the most likely cause seems to be that endometrial cells are transported to the abdomen through bleeding, blood vessels and the lymphatic system
Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital
- Pelvic laparoscopy
- Bladder endoscopy and colonoscopy
- Hormone tablets (e.g. contraceptive pill)
- Removal of endometrial implants (operation)
When to see a doctor?
- Very painful periods
- Gastrointestinal bleeding or bleeding from the bladder during your period
- Persistent lower abdominal pain
- Problems falling pregnant