Symptoms of endometriosis 

Symptoms of endometriosis can vary significantly from person to person. Some women have no symptoms at all.

The most common symptoms include:

  • painful periods or heavy periods
  • pain in the lower abdomen (tummy), pelvis or lower back
  • pain during and after sex
  • bleeding between periods
  • difficulty getting pregnant

The experience of pain varies between women. Most women with endometriosis get pain in the area between their hips and the tops of their legs. Some women have this all the time, while others only have pain during their periods, when they have sex or when they go to the toilet.

Other symptoms may include:

  • long-term exhaustion and tiredness
  • discomfort when urinating or passing stools
  • bleeding from your back passage (rectum) or blood in your stools
  • coughing blood (in rare cases where the endometriosis tissue is in the lung)

How severe the symptoms are depends largely on where in your body the endometriosis is, rather than the amount of endometriosis you have. A small amount of tissue can be as painful as, or more painful than, a large amount.

You should see your GP if you have symptoms of endometriosis so they can try to identify a cause and refer you to a specialist if necessary.

Where does it occur?

Areas of the body that can be affected by endometriosis include:

  • the ovaries and fallopian tubes
  • the outside of the womb
  • the area between the rectum (back passage) and womb
  • the thin layer of tissue that lines the inside of the abdomen (peritoneum)
  • the bowel or bladder
  • the vagina
  • the rectum
  • the muscle layer of the wall of the womb
  • scars from previous operations
  • in rare cases, the skin, eyes, spine, lungs or brain

Page last reviewed: 07/11/2013

Next review due: 07/11/2015