Endometriosis may cause severe and chronic back pain. It may also cause this type of pain in different areas of the body, as well as a variety of other symptoms.

Endometriosis affects more than 11% of people who were assigned female at birth between the ages of 15 and 44. It occurs when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterus. When endometrial cells cling to the tissues of the lower back and pelvic cavity, it can cause back pain.

This article looks at endometriosis as a cause of back pain, other symptoms associated with endometriosis, and more.

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Endometriosis can cause chronic lower back pain to occur if the tissue grows on or near the back. A person may experience pain due to:

  • compressed nerves
  • increase in prostaglandins (fats with hormone-like features that often appear around areas of injury)
  • the endometrial tissue causing chronic inflammation

When a person experiences severe lower back pain due to endometriosis, it may radiate into the pelvic region.

Learn more about endometriosis.

Endometriosis can cause a variety of symptoms, including:

Pain is a common symptom of endometriosis. It can occur in several ways and areas of the body, including:

  • very painful menstrual cramps
  • painful bowel movements or pain when urinating during menstrual periods
  • chronic pelvic pain
  • intestinal pain
  • pain during or after sex

Learn more about severe pain and endometriosis.

Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or acetaminophen, may help with mild to moderate pain.

Some people report finding relief from pain using complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies. These can include chiropractic care, acupuncture, or the use of herbs or supplements. People on special diets or taking medications should talk with a doctor before starting a new supplement.

For severe pain, a person may need to speak with a doctor about additional treatment options.

There is no cure for endometriosis. For people not attempting to become pregnant, using an extended-cycle or intrauterine device (IUD) may help to reduce nonsevere symptoms.

For severe pain, a doctor may prescribe prescription strength pain relievers.

In some cases, a doctor may recommend surgery to remove the endometriosis tissue or to confirm the diagnosis. This is often followed up with hormonal treatment except in cases of a person trying to become pregnant.

A person should contact a doctor if they experience lower back pain that does not go away with OTC treatments. They may also want to speak with a doctor if they experience additional symptoms, such as:

  • digestive issues
  • pain in other areas
  • bleeding or spotting between periods
  • inability to become pregnant when trying

A doctor may order imaging tests to check for issues that may be affecting the back. Some common methods a doctor may use to help diagnose endometriosis include:

  • imaging tests such as ultrasound or MRI
  • pelvic exam
  • use of hormonal medication to see if symptoms improve
  • laparoscopy to examine the area to check for endometriosis tissue

Learn more about how endometriosis is diagnosed.

The following are some questions people frequently ask about endometriosis and back pain.

What does endometriosis back pain feel like?

Endometriosis back pain may be mild to severe. Mild and moderate may be chronic, meaning it will last for a while and feel like it never really goes away, or it may come back frequently.

Back pain associated with endometriosis typically occurs in the lower back and may spread to the pelvic region if it is severe enough.

How do I know if my back pain is endometriosis?

A person will likely not be able to determine if they have endometriosis through back pain alone. But if it occurs with other symptoms, such as digestive issues, or worsens during their period, it may indicate endometriosis is the underlying issue.

A person should consider visiting a doctor and describing their symptoms. A doctor may perform a pelvic exam and order additional testing, such as an ultrasound. They may also try to rule out endometriosis by prescribing hormonal birth control.

Where is endometriosis back pain located?

Endometriosis back pain typically affects the lower portion of the back. When severe, it can spread to the pelvic area.

A person with endometriosis may also experience pain during or after sex, when urinating or passing bowel movements, or in their digestive tract.

Endometriosis can cause chronic lower back pain when the tissue grows in or near the back. The pain may be due to inflammation or pinched nerves in the back. In some cases, a person may experience severe pain in the lower back that spreads or radiates to the pelvic region.

Lower back pain is one of several symptoms of endometriosis that a person may experience. Other symptoms can include pain during or after sex, digestive issues, or spotting or bleeding between periods. Some people may experience infertility as well.

Treatment for pain typically involves OTC or prescription pain relievers. A person may find relief with other therapies, such as chiropractic care or acupuncture. If these do not help, a doctor may recommend hormone therapy or surgery to remove the tissue.