Endometriosis symptoms vary widely, and some women with the condition have no symptoms. Symptoms can include:
- Pelvic pain, especially around the time of menstruation
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Sleep problems
- Cyclical abdominal pain
- Intermittent diarrhea and constipation
- Painful or difficult urination
- Blood in the urine
Infertility and Endometriosis
Endometriosis rarely causes a complete inability to conceive, but it can contribute to infertility both directly and indirectly.
Treatment options for endometriosis include:
- Watchful Waiting. Delaying treatment may be most appropriate for women with mild endometriosis or those who are approaching the age of menopause.
- Drugs. First-line drug therapies are estrogen-progestin oral contraceptives, which are usually used along with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Progestin-only pills, injections, or intrauterine device (IUD) may also be used. Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonist drugs are another option.
- Surgery. Conservative surgery approaches, such as laparoscopic ablation, remove endometrial implants and cysts but do not remove reproductive organs. Conservative surgery can help improve fertility. Hysterectomy, the surgical removal of the uterus, may be recommended in severe cases of endometriosis, but it does not necessarily cure the condition.
Review Date: 07/26/2010
Reviewed By: Harvey Simon, MD, Editor-in-Chief, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.