Endometriosis is a condition where tissue resembling the uterus lining grows outside of the uterus. With bladder endometriosis, this tissue grows inside or on the surface of the bladder. Bladder endometriosis can cause bladder pain.
This article will look at the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of bladder endometriosis. It will also discuss other forms of bladder pain that can have similar symptoms.
A note about sex and gender
Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.
During regular menstruation, endometrial tissue inside the uterus thickens and exits the body through the vagina.
Sometimes, endometriosis tissue can grow in and on the bladder. Doctors call this bladder endometriosis. It is rare, but when it happens, it can be painful.
Learn more about endometriosis.
However, bladder endometriosis is rare. Approximately 1% of people with endometriosis will have tissue growth in their urinary tract.
Additionally, after the gastrointestinal tract, the urinary system is the
Endometriosis is more likely to affect the bladder than any other organ in the urinary system, with
Researchers estimate that around
For others, the symptoms of bladder endometriosis can include:
- needing to urinate urgently
- frequent urination
- pain when the bladder is full
- burning or painful urination
- blood in the urine
- pelvic pain
- lower back pain on one side
When endometriosis develops in other parts of the pelvis,
Interstitial cystitis (IC) has similar symptoms to bladder endometriosis.
- pelvic pain that lasts 6 months or more
- needing to urinate frequently and urgently
- pain during sex
- needing to urinate at night
- pain in the bladder
- symptoms affected by the menstrual cycle
Doctors think that a damaged bladder lining may
Anyone who has bladder pressure or pain that does not go away should speak with a doctor.
Researchers do not know exactly what causes endometriosis.
However, some things make developing it more likely. Doctors call these risk factors.
- having a mother, sister, or daughter with endometriosis
- having periods start before turning 11 years old
- having short monthly menstruation cycles of less than 27 days
- having heavy periods that last more than 7 days
Bladder endometriosis occurs when the endometrial tissue resembling that of the lining of the uterus grows in the bladder. Researchers are not exactly sure how this happens.
Learn more about endometriosis, its possible causes, and more.
To diagnose bladder endometriosis, a doctor will first perform a physical pelvic exam.
The next step is usually checking for blood in the person’s urine.
After this, the doctor may perform other tests,
- Ultrasound: An ultrasound scan uses high-frequency sound waves to create pictures of the inside of the body. A doctor cannot see endometriosis tissue with this method, but they can use it to check for cysts and rule out other problems.
- MRI: An MRI scan uses magnets and radio waves to produce detailed images of the inside of the body. A doctor can then see if any abnormal tissue is growing, where it is, and how much there is.
- Cystoscopy: During a cystoscopy, the doctor inserts a small tool with a camera attached to it through the urethra. This allows them to look at the bladder lining to see whether any endometriosis tissue is growing there.
Learn more about diagnosing endometriosis.
Doctors use stages to define how much abnormal tissue is present and how deeply it has grown into the person’s organs.
- Stage 1 (minimal): A person with stage 1 endometriosis only has small amounts of tissue growth, and it is only present on the surface or around the organs.
- Stage 2 (mild): A person with stage 2 endometriosis has more extensive tissue growths, but they are still on the surface of the organs rather than inside of them.
- Stage 3 (moderate): A person with stage 3 endometriosis has more widespread tissue growth, which has begun to grow inside the pelvic organs.
- Stage 4 (severe): A person with stage 4 endometriosis has lots of endometrial-like tissue, which is growing inside several of the pelvic organs.
There is no cure for endometriosis. However, people can treat some of their symptoms, including pain.
The three main types of treatment for endometriosis pain are:
- Hormone therapy: Hormonal treatments, such as the contraceptive pill and hormonal IUD, may stop periods. They can slow the growth of abnormal tissue, but it does not make existing growths go away.
- Pain medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen may help people with mild symptoms.
- Surgical treatments: Sometimes, doctors may recommend surgery to remove some or all of the abnormal tissue. It can help with the symptoms, but it doesn’t stop the tissue from growing back.
For bladder endometriosis, a person may find that making changes to their diet helps their urinary symptoms. For example, eliminating alcohol and caffeinated drinks from their diet may reduce bladder irritation and pain.
Learn more about endometriosis treatments and management.
Endometriosis is a
Untreated, the condition can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. The pain can be severe, which can stop people from enjoying their lives or going about their everyday activities.
Sometimes, untreated endometriosis can spread to the ureters, the tubes that link the bladder to the kidneys. While very rare, when it happens, it can damage the kidneys.
Bladder endometriosis does not cause infertility.
There is no cure for endometriosis. However, many people use pain medication and lifestyle changes to manage the symptoms.
Often, removing the endometrial tissue surgically is the most effective treatment. However, endometriosis tends to come back, meaning a person may need multiple operations.
A person may find that making lifestyle changes, such as changing their diet and exercising regularly, may help alleviate some of their endometriosis symptoms.
For bladder endometriosis specifically, a person may find that avoiding alcohol and caffeinated drinks helps relieve their bladder pain and irritation.
Opting for hormone therapy may bring some relief from symptoms related to the menstrual cycle. If a person wishes to become pregnant, they should talk with a doctor about which medication is best for them.
There are treatments available for infertility related to endometriosis, such as IVF.
This section answers some frequently asked questions about bladder endometriosis:
How long can you live with endometriosis?
Endometriosis is not a life-limiting condition, meaning people do not die from it. However, there
Does bladder endometriosis show up on ultrasound?
The endometrial tissue itself may not show up on an ultrasound scan.
However, doctors can sometimes tell if a person has bladder endometriosis by looking at abnormalities in their bladder through an ultrasound image.
For example, they can see the thickening of the bladder walls and any cysts or masses that are present.
Endometriosis happens when tissue similar to the tissue inside of the uterus grows outside of the uterus.
When the tissue grows on or in the bladder, doctors call it bladder endometriosis. It can cause bladder pain.
Urinary tract endometriosis, which includes the bladder, happens in about 1% of people with endometriosis. There is no cure for the condition, though treatments are available for some of the symptoms, including pain.
Other causes of bladder pain include interstitial cystitis and urinary tract infections.