Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes widespread pain throughout the body. One study indicates that people with endometriosis may be more likely to have fibromyalgia than those without. Symptoms of chronic pain from both conditions can also overlap.
A 2019 study found that rates of fibromyalgia were
This article explores the links between fibromyalgia and endometriosis. It also examines the causes, common symptoms, support groups, and available treatment options.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that
Endometriosis is a
For example, people with endometriosis may experience severe pelvic pain. Severe pain in the pelvic floor region can also be a significant sign of fibromyalgia.
According to a
Some fibromyalgia symptoms are similar to endometriosis, but the conditions differ.
The below table looks at the symptoms and risk factors of both conditions and the possible links between them.
|Condition||What is it?||Symptoms||Risk factors||Links|
|Fibromyalgia||involves chronic pain throughout the body|
• general stiffness
• sleep problems
• digestive problems
• numbness in the hands and feet
• painful menstrual periods
• having a family member with fibromyalgia
• being female
|• may cause similar symptoms to endometriosis|
• causes chronic pain
|Endometriosis||where tissue similar to the uterine lining grows outside the uterus||• fever|
• pain when urinating and defecating
• painful menstrual cramps
• back pain
• pain in the lower abdomen or pelvic area
• pain during and after sex
• difficulty getting pregnant
• having a family member with endometriosis
• previously having surgery in the abdomen
|• people with endometriosis may have |
• may cause similar symptoms to fibromyalgia
• causes chronic pain
Both fibromyalgia and endometriosis share some similarities. If a person has both conditions, it can make differentiating between them more difficult.
Both conditions can cause chronic pain, sometimes in the same areas. For example, both endometriosis and fibromyalgia may cause severe pelvic pain.
Other symptoms these conditions have in common include:
- painful menstrual cramps
- anxiety and depression
- digestive issues
- symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome
Menstrual cycle flares
Hormones can influence both fibromyalgia and endometriosis.
Similarly, endometriosis symptoms tend to worsen during the menstrual cycle. A person with this condition may also experience painful menstrual cramps, and their digestive symptoms may
Despite their similarities, fibromyalgia and endometriosis are separate conditions with different symptoms and causes.
Some symptoms of fibromyalgia that endometriosis does not directly cause include:
- numbness in the hands and feet
- pain all over the body
- cognitive and memory problems
- restless leg syndrome
- twitching muscles
- sensitivity to loud noises or bright lights
A 2021 study that assessed the effects of endometriosis on the quality of life found that it affected everyday life. In the research, women with endometriosis reported:
- low social interactions and participation
- depressed mood
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults with fibromyalgia are
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists notes that endometriosis occurs in about 1 in 10 women of reproductive age.
Medical professionals diagnose fibromyalgia and endometriosis differently.
There are no diagnostic tests specifically for fibromyalgia. However, the doctor may recommend scans and blood tests to rule out any underlying health condition.
The American College of Rheumatology established guidelines for diagnosing fibromyalgia:
- pain and symptoms over the past week, in addition to fatigue, waking unrefreshed, and cognitive problems
- symptoms lasting 3 months
- no other health condition
It can be difficult for doctors to diagnose endometriosis because symptoms can resemble those of other health conditions.
Some diagnostic tests for endometriosis include:
- a pelvic exam
- a biopsy
- imaging tests, such as CT scans and MRI
- a laparoscopy
Below, we explore the treatments for endometriosis and fibromyalgia.
The doctor will recommend a combination of therapies to treat fibromyalgia. These may
There is no cure for endometriosis. However, a doctor will evaluate the severity of a person’s symptoms and determine the best treatment.
Treatment aims to improve symptoms and relieve pain. A doctor
The doctor will prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, as a first-line treatment. They may also prescribe stronger pain relief medication if NSAIDs are ineffective.
Doctors may recommend hormonal treatments to reduce circulating estrogen levels. This can be in the form of birth control pills or other forms of hormonal contraception.
The doctor may also recommend gonadotropin-releasing hormone for up to
A doctor will recommend surgery to remove endometrial lesions and scar tissues if other treatments are ineffective.
The following are charities and support hubs for people with these conditions.
Organizations that can support those with endometriosis include:
Organizations that can help with fibromyalgia support include:
Although there is no cure for either fibromyalgia or endometriosis, a person can manage the conditions with medical therapy and lifestyle modifications.
Endometriosis symptoms tend to decrease significantly or even resolve in menopause, but some people may still experience symptoms even afterward.
However, some treatment options, such as hormonal therapy, can decrease a person’s symptoms and provide a more positive outlook. Someone may also find their quality of life improves with psychological and behavioral therapy.
Fibromyalgia is a lifelong condition, but a combination of exercise, physical therapies, psychological therapy, and medications can improve a person’s quality of life.
If a person has symptoms of either fibromyalgia or endometriosis, they can contact a doctor.
A doctor can evaluate a person’s symptoms and medical history and may diagnose them with one or both conditions.
Additionally, they can check for other possible causes of the symptoms.
This section looks at some frequently asked questions about fibromyalgia and endometriosis.
What diseases link to endometriosis?
- allergies, including asthma
- autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and multiple sclerosis
- some forms of hypothyroidism
- chronic fatigue syndrome
- breast cancer
- ovarian cancer
Can fibromyalgia affect the uterus?
A 2015 study evaluated the effect of fibromyalgia on female infertility. The authors found that the condition can induce painful repetitive muscular contractions that weaken the uterine muscle and cause spontaneous abortion.
Is endometriosis related to autoimmune diseases?
Endometriosis is not an autoimmune disease, but evidence suggests a link between it and some conditions.
Although fibromyalgia and endometriosis share common symptoms and may occur together, they are two distinctly different conditions. A person with endometriosis may be at a higher risk of developing fibromyalgia.
There is no way to prevent these two conditions, but people can take steps to manage them. They can also help manage personal risk factors by following the recommended treatment plans and lifestyle modifications.
If people have symptoms of fibromyalgia or endometriosis, they need to contact a gynecologist immediately.