Endometriosis Pain Types

What Does Endometriosis Feel Like? Types of Endometriosis Pain & Natural, Medical, and Surgical Treatment

Learn How People Feel Endometriosis Pain in Different Locations

Endometriosis pain is hard to explain to people who have never experienced it. Why? For many reasons. One of them is that each patient with endometriosis (endo) will endure their specific type of pain. Some patients experience pain during sex, while others may have pain after sex. Another example is that some patients have endometriosis pain in the lower back, and others sometimes have it all over the back and even the hips!

Want to know how to deal with endo pain? In this article, we will review the various types of endo pains, their locations, characteristics, and treatments. 

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Endometriosis Signs and Symptoms

Where is Endometriosis Pain Felt?

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to distinguish exactly where endo pain is coming from. This difficulty is because endometriosis pain can feel non-specific and may affect various parts of your body at different times. Can endometriosis cause back pain? Yes. Some patients experience endometriosis rectal pain or generalized pelvic pain – while other people with endo might have pain in their chest, back, or even hips. To that end, pain location usually results from where the endometriosis tissues reside inside the body. 

What Does Endometriosis Pain Feel Like?

It can be tough to explain what endometriosis pain feels like. This is especially true when a woman tries to explain this pain to a guy. For one, most women complain that endo pain feels like very excruciating period cramps. However, unlike period cramps, many patients with endometriosis report that this sensation is not limited to just the area surrounding the uterus. Patients with endometriosis often experience:

  • Pelvic pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Pain during bowel movements
  • Sciatic pain
  • Pain during or after intercourse
  • Leg pain
  • Rectal pain
  • Pain with urination

Menstruation can exaggerate these types of endo pains. But many patients experience these symptoms outside their period. 

Why Do Endometriosis Patients Experience Different Types of Pain?

Endometriosis is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects each patient differently. Why? For the most part, the type of endometriosis pain you experience will depend on the location of the lesions and the progression of the disease. Furthermore, feeling the pain in one part of the body doesn’t mean that it originated from that body part. It is because pain often radiates to other parts of the body.

Different Types of Endometriosis Pain and Their Origins

Pelvic Pain

Endometriosis is when tissue similar to the endometrium grows outside the uterus. In most cases, these tissues grow in areas close to the uterus, i.e., your pelvis, reproductive organs, and abdomen. 

Meg Connolly, diagnosed at the age of 23 with endometriosis, said that:

“Endometriosis causes a pain that’s very difficult to describe. It’s more than just ‘bad cramps’ — it’s the type of pain that even over-the-counter (OTC) medicine won’t resolve.”

Back Pain

Can you have back pain with endometriosis? Absolutely. The endometrial growths can stick to the front of your pelvic cavity or your lower back. Endo back pain presents deep within the body. This condition can result in sciatic pain.

Is the back pain you experience caused by endometriosis? Back pain is a common ailment among patients of all demographics. However, endometriosis back pain stems from deep inside the body. Furthermore, another indication your back pain might be from endometriosis is that it won’t improve by seeing a chiropractor or changing your posture. 

Leg Pain

Leg pain can result from endometriosis when the lesions grow near or on the sciatic nerve. Patients describe endometriosis leg pain as the following:

  • A dull throb
  • A sharp stabbing sensation
  • A sudden spasm that feels similar to a leg cramp

Patients with severe leg pain from endometriosis may have difficulty walking comfortably or standing up quickly. 

Pain During Intercourse

Endometriosis tissue and scars around it can result in a painful nodule to touch. These nodules may occur in several places, including:

  • Cervix
  • Uterus
  • Pelvic cavity
  • Rectovaginal septum

The presence of these nodules may lead to sharp pain felt in the vaginal or abdominal areas during sexual intercourse or immediately after.

Endometriosis Painful Bowel Movements

Endometriosis tissue can grow in the bowel wall or the space between your rectum and vagina. This abnormal growth results in these symptoms:

  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty passing urine
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Painful bowel movements

Bowel pain can be sharp and consistent. Moreover, pain from the bowels can worsen if combined with poor lifestyle habits, such as diets high in greasy processed foods.

How Does Endometriosis Pain Differ From Menstrual Pain?

Endo pain is different from normal menstrual pain. But also pain from this disorder typically feels different for each person who experiences it. However, there are a few things that set endo pain apart from menstrual pain, including:

  • Endo pain is typically chronic, lasting for more than six months.
  • The pain happens several times in the month, before and during your menstrual cycle. 
  • Frequently the pain is severe. As a result of this severity, over-the-counter pain relievers typically do not provide relief.
  • Endometriosis pain is often consistent. Therefore patients can usually recognize it when the symptoms come on.

Endometriosis Pain Treatment Options

Pain relief for endometriosis can be natural, medical, or surgical. Learn more about these three types below. But it is important to know that natural and medical solutions are mostly temporary relievers from this list, and surgery is considered the most permanent treatment.

*Note: iCareBetter is not endorsing any of the treatments but instead provides a list of what helps other patients and routinely performed treatments.

Natural Treatment for Endometriosis Pain:

  • Rest
  • Turmeric
  • Light exercise
  • Castor oil 
  • Ginger tea
  • Dietary changes
  • Pelvic massage
  • Herbal supplements
  • A heating pad or hot water bottle

Medical Treatment:

  • OTC pain medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Prescription pain medication
  • Mental health provider that specializes in pain management
  • Some physicians prescribe hormonal therapy, such as contraceptives. However, new research shows this treatment for endometriosis pain is not a one-size-fits-all solution. A recent study out of Yale came to the following conclusion:
    • “PR (progesterone receptor) status is strongly associated with response to progesterone-based therapy. Receptor status in endometriosis could be used to tailor hormonal-based regimens after surgery and negate trialing progestin-based therapy to determine resistance. Ascertainment of PR status may allow for a novel, targeted, precision-based approach to treating endometriosis.”

Surgical Treatment

  • Minimally Invasive Surgery for endometriosis is a way to remove endometriosis lesions permanently and help with the pain. In this procedure, the surgeon cuts small incisions into the abdomen and inserts a thin tube with a viewing light (a scope) into the body. Then this scope can visualize lesions, take tissues samples, and remove scarring. 
  • A laparotomy is a surgical procedure where the surgeon cuts and opens the abdomen and does not use thin tubes. However, laparotomy is more extensive than minimally invasive surgery and is not often performed in modern medicine due to the risk of complications.

Read More Articles Below:

How Do I Know If I Have Endometriosis? Endometriosis Signs

How to Find an Endometriosis Specialist for Diagnosis, Treatment, & Surgery

Do You Have Endometriosis Pain?

What type of endo pain do you have? And how would you describe it? If you want to find an experienced endometriosis specialist or a different kind of endo provider near you, you can do so on our platform, iCareBetter.

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