What is endometriosis? Symptoms of condition that causes pain in uterus, causes, and treatment options

Endometriosis is a debilitating menstrual conditionEndometriosis is a debilitating menstrual condition
Endometriosis is a debilitating menstrual condition | Adobe
A number of celebrities suffer with endometriosis and have spoken about their condition

Endometriosis is a debilitating menstrual condition that affects around one in 10 women in the UK.

But what is the condition and what are the symptoms?

Here’s what you need to know.

What is endometriosis?

Around 1.5 million women and those assigned female at birth are currently living with the condition in the UK.

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With an average diagnosis wait of 7.5 years, women are often left in the dark about the cause of their issues and how best to be treated.

It is a chronic condition where cells similar to the lining of the womb begin to grow in other areas of the body.

Endometriosis (pronounced en- doh – mee – tree – oh – sis) reacts in the same way as the cells inside the womb and it builds up, breaks down and bleeds in the same way.

However, unlike the cells inside the womb that leave our bodies as a period, the endometriosis blood has no way to escape.

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The condition can affect anyone with a uterus from puberty all the way through to menopause and there are examples where this has affected women for life.

A graphic showing how endometriosis impacts the utuerus (Credit: rumruay - Adobe stock)A graphic showing how endometriosis impacts the utuerus (Credit: rumruay - Adobe stock)
A graphic showing how endometriosis impacts the utuerus (Credit: rumruay - Adobe stock) | rumruay - stock.adobe.com

What are the symptoms of endometriosis?

Symptoms of endometriosis can vary from person to person and not every symptom might affect the person.

Endometriosis has a wide range of symptoms such as:

  • Painful periods
  • Pain during or after sex
  • Heavy periods
  • Spotting or bleeding between periods
  • Infertility 
  • Pain during bowel movements 
  • Fatigue

A full list of the main symptoms of endometriosis can be seen by visiting the Endometriosis UK website.

How to get diagnosed with endometriosis?

If you think you might be suffering from endometriosis it is important to visit a doctor.

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Unfortunately getting diagnosed with the condition may take some time as the symptoms are very similar to a lot of other common conditions.

It is important to share as much information with your doctor as possible to ensure the best help possible so try to keep a diary of symptoms and any issues you think could be related.

The only definitive way to diagnose endometriosis is through a laparoscopy operation, where a small camera is inserted into your abdomen to look for any signs of the condition.

If endometriosis is found then this can be treated or removed during the procedure.

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Because endometriosis can manifest in a variety of ways, blood tests, scans and internal examinations are not a conclusive way of diagnosing the condition.

Endometriosis can take 7.5 years to be diagnosed between first seeing a doctor and having a firm diagnosis.

Which celebrities have endometriosis?

Because endometriosis affects such a large proportion of people a number of celebrities have shared their experiences with the condition.

In June 2021 former Love Island star Molly Mae shared her experiences with endometriosis and the impact surgery had had on her life.

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Molly Mae (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)Molly Mae (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
Molly Mae (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images) | Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Sharing her experiences in a Q+A video on YouTube titled ‘MY LIFE WITH ENDOMETRIOSIS’, she told viewers: "It got so bad, I would be rolling in bed and I would actually be fearful for my life”.

Actress and comedian Amy Schumer shared her experiences with endometriosis after having a hysterectomy in September 2021.

Schumer told her fans in an Instagram post: “If you have really painful periods you may have #endometriosis.”

Author Chrissy Teigan also opened up about her experiences with the condition after suffering a pregnancy loss in 2021.

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Teigan shared a post surgery photo on her Twitter, showing her fans her bandaged abdomen and later on her scarring from the surgery.

Other people to also suffer with endometriosis include:

  • Daisy Ridley
  • Lena Dunham 
  • Mandy Moore
  • Alexa Chung
  • Halsey 
  • Whoopi Goldberg 
  • Susan Sarandon
  • Tia Mowry-Hardrict

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