Uncommon, or less talked about, symptoms of endometriosis can include gastrointestinal symptoms, urinary symptoms, pain while having sex, and nerve pain.
Endometriosis is a condition in which cells that line the uterus — the endometrium — grow outside of the uterus in other parts of the body.
While the pelvis is the
Because of the location variability of cell implants, endometriosis may present with lesser-known symptoms other than pelvic pain and painful periods.
This article explores uncommon symptoms of endometriosis and conditions that cause similar symptoms to endometriosis.
Painful intercourse — or dyspareunia — is another potential symptom of endometriosis. It can occur during penetrative sex and be superficial, with pain at initial entry felt at the vulvar region, or deep, with perceived pain in the vaginal canal or pelvic region. Deep dyspareunia affects about
People describe the pain as a drawing, dragging pain that radiates down their thighs, while others report it as a sharp, stabbing pain during intercourse that persists days afterward.
While people typically feel endometriosis pain in their body tissues, about 40% of people with endometriosis report feeling pain in their nerves — also referred to as neuropathic pain. People describe this type of pain as tingling or stabbing.
Nerve pain may result from previous endometriosis surgery, damaged nerve fibers from endometrial tissue ablation, or prolonged exposure to proteins that promote inflammation in the body.
It commonly causes symptoms that occur with menstruation, including:
People with endometriosis also report lower urinary tract symptoms significantly more often than those without the condition.
We explore some of these symptoms below.
In a 2021 qualitative study, participants described painful urination due to endometriosis as a burning sensation, similar to experiencing a urinary tract infection. It also tended to be worse in the mornings, especially when the bladder was full.
Blood in the urine
Other lower urinary tract symptoms can include:
- difficulty passing urine
- feeling as though the bladder is still full after urination
- having to urinate again within minutes of urinating
- feeling pain when the bladder is full
Rarely, endometriosis may affect the upper urinary tract, which includes the ureters, known as ureteral endometriosis, and kidneys, known as renal endometriosis.
People with endometriosis are
A person with endometriosis
Endometriosis is a multi-organ disease that can present a diagnostic challenge due to its tendency to mimic other conditions.
Below are some conditions that
- pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- ovarian cysts
- inflammatory bowel disease
- interstitial cystitis
- irritable bowel syndrome
- chronic urinary inflammation
- cervical stenosis
The migration of endometrial tissue to different organs and structures in the body can cause endometriosis to have a wide range of symptoms beyond chronic pelvic pain. These symptoms can also be mistaken for other conditions.
People should speak with a healthcare professional if they have symptoms of endometriosis, especially if those symptoms significantly impact their life.
It is difficult to diagnose endometriosis because of its variable symptoms and conditions that cause similar symptoms. Therefore, it can be helpful for people to take note of the symptoms they experience.
Endometriosis is a chronic condition that affects many females of reproductive age.
Diagnosis can be challenging because some symptoms can mimic those of other conditions or are less well known, such as nerve pain and urinary and gastrointestinal symptoms.
A healthcare professional can help diagnose the condition and recommend treatment options. Keeping a log of one’s symptoms may also be beneficial, as this can help healthcare professionals better understand the health concern and provide appropriate treatments.