Symptoms of Endometriosis

Endometriosis symptoms vary from woman to woman. Some women will have many symptoms. Others will have no symptoms. Some may experience severe pain with menstruation, making diagnosis slightly easier. Others will only have vague, difficult-to-pinpoint symptoms. They know something is wrong but can't figure out what.

To make things even more confusing, the symptoms of endometriosis can also be caused by other conditions and diseases.

With that being said, the following are potential risk factors and symptoms of endometriosis. If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, speak to your healthcare provider. Keep in mind that the average time to receive an endometriosis diagnosis is 10 years. If you have described your symptoms to your healthcare provider, only to be told it's "in your head," consider seeing someone else.

Symptoms of endometriosis

Verywell / JR Bee

The only way to diagnose endometriosis is with a laparoscopy. Just reviewing your symptoms or even having an ultrasound isn't enough.

Painful Menstrual Cramps

Painful menstrual cramps may be a sign of endometriosis. However, menstrual cramps can be caused by other conditions, too.

Mild cramping around the time of your period is quite common. This is especially true for teenagers who have just started menstruating.

With that said, cramps caused by endometriosis are more intense. They may cause nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Some women with endometriosis are forced to miss work or school during their period—the pain interferes with their daily life.

General Pelvic Pain

Some women with endometriosis will have pelvic pain throughout their cycles, and not just during menstruation.

It’s important to note that the amount of pelvic pain you experience doesn’t necessarily correlate to the severity of the endometriosis.

You can have mild endometriosis and suffer from severe pelvic pain or have severe endometriosis and have little or no pelvic pain.

Painful Sexual Intercourse

Painful intercourse is another potential symptom of endometriosis. Intercourse may be painful only in certain positions, specifically during deep penetration. The pain may also come and go throughout the menstrual cycle.

Some women with endometriosis have more pain around the time of ovulation. This can interfere with getting pregnant since you may be less likely to have sex around your most fertile time.

Heavy Menstrual Periods

Women with endometriosis may have heavier bleeding and longer lasting menstruation. They may have spotting between periods and may also get their periods more frequently.


According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, endometriosis may be found in up to 50% of infertile women.

As we said above, not every woman with endometriosis will show symptoms such as painful periods. Some women only find out about the endometriosis while being evaluated for infertility.

Depression and Fatigue

Depression and fatigue can result from endometriosis. They are most likely caused by other symptoms of the disease.

For example, you may feel exhausted and depressed from dealing with pain throughout your cycle or period. Infertility and a difficult sex life (from painful intercourse) can lead to depression or anxiety.

Bladder Problems

Endometriosis can also cause blood in the urine and pain upon urinating. You may experience frequent urination and urgency.

In severe cases of endometriosis, endometrial tissue may grow around or even inside the bladder, leading to pain and bleeding.

If you experience bleeding when you urinate, contact your healthcare provider.

Constipation and/or Diarrhea

Some women with endometriosis deal with on-and-off constipation or diarrhea. It may get worse around the time of menstruation.

Also, some women will experience pain during bowel movements or when passing gas. In severe cases, endometriosis may develop within the bowel itself.

Some women with endometriosis are also diagnosed with IBS.

Family History

While the cause of endometriosis is not understood, there may be a genetic link to the disease.

Some experts say that if you have a mother or sister with endometriosis, your chances of developing the disease is about 7%.

Having a first-degree relative with endometriosis may also increase the risk of having a more severe case.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How can you ease endometriosis pain?

    Pain caused by endometriosis can be eased with home remedies such as warm baths, rest, regular exercise, and a heating pad on the abdomen. Mild pain may be relieved with over-the-counter pain relievers such as Advil (ibuprofen) or Tylenol (acetaminophen), but prescription medications may be needed, as well.

  • What are the stages of endometriosis?

    There are 4 stages of endometriosis. Stage I indicates minimal disease with very few endometrial implants and no scar tissue, whereas Stage II is considered mild disease in which the number and depth of implants increase and there may be scar tissue. Stage III, or moderate disease, means there are several deep endometrial implants and endometrial cysts in at least one ovary. Stage IV is severe, in which numerous implants and cysts are present and multiple therapies, including multiple surgeries, may be necessary to manage it.

7 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Endometriosis Foundation of America. Endometriosis: Fast Facts

  2. Endometriosis Foundation of America. What Is Endometriosis? Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

  3. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Endometriosis

  4. Endometriosis Foundation fo America. Endometriosis Symptoms: Infertility

  5. Endometriosis Foundation of America. Endometriosis Symptoms

  6. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Endometriosis

  7. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Endometriosis. 2021.

Additional Reading
  • Endometriosis: A Guide for Patients. American Society of Reproductive Medicine.
  • Endometriosis. A.D.A.M. Healthcare Center.

By Rachel Gurevich, RN
Rachel Gurevich is a fertility advocate, and recipient of The Hope Award for Achievement, from Resolve: The National Infertility Association. She is the author of "The Doula Advantage" and "Birth Plans for Dummies," and a member of the Association for Health Care Journalists. She has contributed to Reuters Health, USA Today, and more.