What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a long-term condition, affecting 1 in 10 women, where cells similar to the ones in the lining of the womb (uterus) start to grow in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes.
What are the main symptoms?
- Pain in your lower tummy or back (pelvic pain) – usually worse during your period
- Period pain that stops you doing your normal activities
- Pain during or after sex
- Pain when peeing or pooing during your period
- Feeling sick, constipation, diarrhoea, or blood in your pee during your period
- Difficulty getting pregnant
You may also have heavy periods. You might use lots of pads or tampons, or you may bleed through your clothes.
For some women, endometriosis can have a big impact on their life and may sometimes lead to feelings of depression.
Speak to your GP if you are experiencing symptoms of endometriosis. You might find it helpful to write down your symptoms before your appointment.
Keeping a record of your pain and symptoms can help you and your doctor when it comes to both diagnosis and management of symptoms. Endometriosis UK has a pain and symptoms diary which you can use to help you with this.
What are the treatment options?
While there is currently no cure for endometriosis, there are different treatments that can help ease the symptoms. The NHS website provides further information on these.
Living with endometriosis
Endometriosis can be a challenging condition to deal with, both physically and emotionally.
Endometriosis UK offers valuable support and information to those affected by endometriosis on their website. You may wish to call their free confidential endometriosis helpline if you have any questions about treatment or would just like someone to talk to: 0808 808 2227. They also have a directory of local support groups and an online community for women affected by endometriosis.
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have provided an information leaflet if you wish to know more about endometriosis. It may also be helpful if you are the partner or relative of someone with endometriosis.
Endometriosis UK have written a guide for employers which provides an overview of the legal situation when it comes to managing endometriosis at work.
Painful periods: Living with Endometriosis
Watch this BBC video on living with endometriosis.
Endometriosis: My story
In this video, Atima shares her story of being diagnosed with endometriosis and how the condition has impacted her life.
Updated on: 14/04/2022