Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus, leading to severe pain and potential fertility issues.

Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining inside the uterus, called endometrium, starts to grow outside the uterus. This often painful disorder can lead to fertility problems, cysts, and adhesions.


The basics

Endometriosis occurs when endometrial tissue grows on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and tissues lining the pelvis. Rarely, the tissue might spread beyond the pelvic region. The displaced endometrial tissue behaves like it would normally: thickening, breaking down, and bleeding with each menstrual cycle. However, because this tissue has no way to exit the body, it becomes trapped, leading to the formation of cysts, adhesions, and potential scarring.

While the precise cause of endometriosis remains unclear, several factors including hormonal changes, retrograde menstruation, embryonic cell growth, and surgical scar implantation might play a role. It is crucial for those with symptoms of endometriosis to seek medical attention, as early diagnosis and treatment can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life.

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Endometriosis symptoms can vary, but some of the most frequently reported include:

  • Severe menstrual cramps
  • Chronic pelvic pain
  • Pain during or after intercourse
  • Heavy menstrual periods or spotting between periods
  • Bowel and urinary disorders, including pain during bowel movements or urination
  • Infertility or difficulty getting pregnant
  • Fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, or nausea

It's crucial to recognize that the severity of pain isn't always indicative of the disease's extent. Some women with mild endometriosis may experience intense pain, while others with advanced endometriosis might have little to no discomfort.

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Therapies & treatments

Hormone Therapy

By suppressing the growth of endometrial-like tissue, treatments such as birth control pills, patches, vaginal rings, GnRH agonists and antagonists, and progestin therapy can offer relief. Our women's health general practitioner, Dr Yvette Bruce, offers expert guidance, helping women navigate the best hormonal solutions tailored to their unique situation.

Pelvic Physiotherapy

Pelvic physiotherapy has emerged as a pivotal approach in managing this pain, targeting both the musculoskeletal and neural implications of the disease. Specialised pelvic physiotherapists, trained in the nuances of endometriosis, apply a combination of manual therapies, tailored exercises, and relaxation techniques. This holistic approach not only aids in alleviating pain but also addresses the muscular tightness and dysfunction commonly associated with endometriosis. By integrating pelvic physiotherapy into their care plan, many individuals with endometriosis find enhanced relief, improved pelvic function, and a better quality of life.

To learn more about Pelvic Physiotherapy at Painless, check out our resident expert, Caitlin McPhee.

Pain Relief Medication

Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen can help manage the pain. For more severe pain, doctors might prescribe stronger painkillers.

Conservative Surgery

For women who wish to become pregnant or experience severe pain, doctors may opt for a laparoscopic procedure to remove or destroy endometrial-like tissue.

Assisted Reproductive Techniques

For those facing fertility issues due to endometriosis, treatments like in vitro fertilization (IVF) might be suggested to help in achieving pregnancy.

Complementary Therapies

Some women find relief from endometriosis pain through acupuncture, chiropractic care, herbs, or dietary supplements. It's essential to discuss any alternative treatments with your doctor to ensure they're safe and effective for your specific condition.

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Self-care strategies

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