Symptoms of endometriosis commonly include pain, although each patient may have a unique experience. Endometriosis symptoms can be mild or severe and do not necessarily correspond with the stage or severity of endometriosis growth. For example, a patient with stage 1 endometriosis may experience debilitating symptoms, while a patient with stage 4 endometriosis may have no symptoms.
Early diagnosis and surgical treatment can address endometriosis symptoms such as chronic pelvic pain and bowel issues, and may prevent infertility. It’s important to be vigilant about the potential signs and seek a medical consultation early on if you think you may be experiencing endometriosis. The condition can progress and cause more severe symptoms and complications over time. Any pain that is disruptive to regular activity and functioning is not normal and should be evaluated.
Common Endometriosis Symptoms
A common symptom of endometriosis is intense period pain. Women who may have endometriosis experience this symptom often as early as the first menstrual cycle. The symptoms can be controlled with early diagnosis and treatment, which can prevent long-term complications such as infertility and chronic pelvic pain.
Symptoms of endometriosis can include:
- Pain with period (dysmenorrhea)
- Pain with bowel movements (dyschezia)
- Pain with sexual intercourse (dyspaureunia)
- Abdominal pain
- Pelvic pain
- Intestinal pain
- Lower back pain
- Leg and hip pain
- Bowel or bladder symptoms, especially before or during periods (for example, blood in urine or stool that only occurs during periods)
- Gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea, constipation, bloating or nausea
- Abnormal bleeding or heavy menstrual flow during or between periods
- Chronic fatigue
Pain is one of the most common symptoms of endometriosis and can be felt in the pelvis, lower back, legs, hips and throughout the gastrointestinal system. Endometrial tissue is usually in the uterus and will shed during your period each month. But when it spreads outside of the uterus and implants on other structures in the pelvis, it can cause inflammation, swelling and the formation of scar tissue, leading to severe pain in many cases. For some women, pain may only occur during their menstrual cycle, but for others the pain can be constant.
When to Call a Doctor
You should call your doctor when your symptoms begin to interfere with your everyday life and regular activities. Examples of a disruption to your quality of life may include:
- Missing work or school due to severe symptoms
- Staying in bed due to pain
- Experiencing emotional effects from worsening symptoms
- Being unable to keep up with your interests and activities
If an over-the-counter pain reliever doesn’t help with pain reduction, it’s time to call your doctor. If you suspect your symptoms may be caused by endometriosis or any other GYN condition, contact an endometriosis specialist at CIGC for an expert opinion.