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admin February 27, 2021

What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a condition where cells similar to the ones in the lining of the womb (uterus) are found elsewhere in the body. Endometriosis can affect women of any age and is notoriously known as being difficult to diagnose.Although endometriosis is a  long-term condition that can have a significant impact on your life, there are treatments that can help to ease the pain and discomfort.

What are the symptoms of endometriosis?

The symptoms of endometriosis can vary between individuals. Some women are affected significantly, whereas others might not have any noticeable symptoms.

The main symptoms of endometriosis are:

  • pain in your lower stomach or back (pelvic pain) – this pain is usually worse during periods
  • period pain that impacts your everyday life
  • pain during or after sex
  • pain when urinating or pooing
  • feeling sick, constipation, diarrhoea during your period
  • difficulty getting pregnant
  • heavy periods

Endometriosis can have a big impact on their life and may sometimes lead to feelings of depression.

When should you see your doctor about endometriosis symptoms?

We recommend seeing a GP if you have a few of the symptoms listed above, especially if they’re having a big impact on your life. It may help to write down a diary with your symptoms to show your doctor when they occur. Endometriosis UK has a pain and symptoms diary (PDF, 238kb) that we recommend using.

Why is it so hard to diagnose endometriosis?

It can be difficult to diagnose endometriosis because the symptoms can vary considerably, and many other conditions can cause similar symptoms. Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms, and may ask to examine your tummy and vagina. They may recommend treatments such as strong pain relief if they think you have endometriosis.

If these do not help, they might refer you to a specialist called a gynaecologist for some further tests, such as an ultrasound scan or laparoscopy. A laparoscopy is where a surgeon passes a thin tube through a small cut in your tummy so they can see any patches of endometriosis tissue. This is the only way to be certain you have endometriosis.

Treatments for endometriosis

Unfortunately there is no cure for endometriosis (research is still ongoing), but there are treatments that can help ease the symptoms.

Treatments include:

  • painkillers (ibuprofen, paracetamol and codeine)
  • the contraceptive pill
  •  an intrauterine system (IUS), and medicines called gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) analogues
  • surgery to cut away patches of endometriosis tissue
  • an operation to remove part or all of the organs affected by endometriosis

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