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Home About Endometriosis Symptoms

Symptoms

What are the signs and symptoms of endometriosis?

As women's menstrual cycles vary, there are a wide variety of signs and symptoms in women with endometriosis.    

The type, number and severity of symptoms experienced varies from woman to woman. Some women experience many symptoms which may be debilitating at times. Others experience no symptoms, or only discover that they have endometriosis because they cannot fall pregnant, or it is found at an operation performed for another cause.

The symptoms experienced and their severity are not necessarily related to the severity of the condition but are often more closely related to the location of the implants. For example, mild endometriosis consisting of a few implants in the Pouch of Douglas can cause debilitating pain while severe endometriosis located on the ovaries may cause little pain.

As the condition progresses the number and severity of symptoms experienced often increases, as does the number of days in the month during which the symptoms are felt. Thus, in the early stages of the disease one or two mild symptoms may be felt for the first day or two of a period. Later, as the condition worsens a larger number of symptoms may be felt with increasing severity for a greater proportion of the month.

Symptoms include:

Pain

Approximately three quarters of women with endometriosis have pelvic pain and/or dysmenorrhea15.  It may occur in any of the following forms:

  • Period pain - immediately before and during the period
  • Pain during or after sex
  • Abdominal, back and/or pelvic pain
  • Pain with opening bowels, passing wind or urinating
  • Ovulation pain, including thigh or leg pain

Bleeding

  • Heavy bleeding, with or without clots
  • Irregular bleeding with or without a regular cycle
  • Prolonged bleeding
  • Premenstrual spotting

Other symptoms may include:

  • Bowel or bladder symptoms, including bleeding from bladder or bowel
  • Irregular bowel habits e.g. constipation, diarrhoea
  • Increase in urinary frequency or change in your normal function
  • Infertility
  • Premenstrual symptoms
  • Tiredness
  • Mood changes
  • Bloating

When do I seek help?

It is important to seek help when your symptoms are interfering with your daily living and quality of life, for example:

  • Missing work, school or recreational activities
  • When medicines used for period pain don't help
  • When you need to stay in bed
  • When symptoms are getting worse
  • When symptoms occur cyclically
Fact Sheet

pdf Endometriosis 251.76 Kb

Content updated 30 November 2011

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