Uncommon Symptoms of Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a chronic gynecologic condition, with symptoms that impact well-being and quality of life. The symptoms of endometriosis vary per individual, and some people can experience less common symptoms of endometriosis. In this blog post, we take a closer look at these uncommon symptoms of endometriosis.
Sabrina Greco

Sabrina Greco

MSc in Anatomical Sciences at Queen’s University in Canada

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What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a chronic gynecologic condition, with symptoms that impact well-being and quality of life. Symptoms of endometriosis vary per individual.

Uncommon symptoms refer to symptoms which are not as commonly experienced or reported. More research is needed to understand the symptoms of endometriosis and its impacts on quality of life.

Becoming familiar with how your body feels normally, will help you recognize and identify any abnormal or unexpected symptoms. Speak to your healthcare provider if you notice any changes or differences in your symptoms.

Pain beyond the pelvis

Pain related to endometriosis can extend beyond the pelvic region.

Endometriosis can cause neuropathic pain due to nerve damage or dysfunction. Research suggests that the inflammation associated with endometriosis can contribute to the development of neuropathic pain [1]. Recently, studies have demonstrated nerve fibres in and surrounding endometrial implants, which contribute to pain symptoms.

Beyond the pelvis, endometriosis can cause nerve pain in areas such as the groin and lower back. Endometriosis can also directly affect nerves, such as the sciatic nerve, leading to symptoms including cyclic leg pain, and radiating numbness and tingling [2].

Urinary symptoms of endometriosis

Urinary symptoms can arise if endometrial implants develop on organs and tissues of the urinary system [3]. Urinary symptoms include:

- Frequent urination.

- Pain, discomfort or burning sensations with urination.

- Sudden or increased urge to urinate.

- Difficulty with urination or with fully emptying the bladder.

- Blood in the urine.

Digestive symptoms of endometriosis

Digestive symptoms of endometriosis vary depending on the location of endometrial implants.

Uncommon digestive symptoms of endometriosis include rectal bleeding, painful bowel movements, and intestinal cramps. These symptoms can resemble other conditions, like inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome. Endometriosis can also cause constipation, diarrhea, and bloating, which may be indicative of bowel endometriosis [3].

Pulmonary symptoms of endometriosis

Endometrial implants can develop within lung tissue or on the diaphragm and pleural surfaces. This can produce a range of symptoms, including shortness of breath (dyspnea), chest pain and coughing up blood (hemoptysis). If the diaphragm is affected, symptoms can also include referred pain in the neck and shoulder [3].

Other symptoms

In some cases, endometriosis can develop as a tender mass in the groin or inguinal region. The mass is often associated with pain that radiates to the hips. These symptoms can also resemble an inguinal hernia [4].

In some cases, endometrial implants can develop deep into the abdominal and pelvic cavity. For example, endometrial implants can form as a retroperitoneal mass, which can cause deep vein thrombosis, due to external compression of the iliac vein [5]. This can present as cyclic hip pain, among other more common symptoms of endometriosis.

Endometrial implants can form and develop on scar tissue following gynecologic procedures, like a C-section. Abdominal wall scar endometriosis often results in a tender mass on the abdominal wall, that is sensitive to hormonal fluctuations [6].

Conclusion

Uncommon symptoms of endometriosis can vary widely. Uncommon presentations of the condition can create diagnostic challenges and may require multidisciplinary approaches for diagnosis and treatment.

Symptoms of endometriosis widely vary. You may also experience symptoms which are not listed here. Always consult a healthcare professional regarding changes in your symptoms or condition.

Sabrina Greco

Sabrina Greco

Sabrina is a pre-medical student based in Toronto, Canada. She completed her BSc in Life Sciences and her MSc in Anatomical Sciences at Queen’s University in Canada. Her recent research focused on investigating the symptoms and experiences of women who have undergone gynecologic surgery. Her research has been published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Canada, and presented at the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health Annual Conference 2022 and 2023. Sabrina is a patient advocate dedicated to improving communication and knowledge translation practices in clinical settings.