How do you know if you've got endometriosis? Being more tired than usual could be a sign

A woman falls asleep on the couch
A woman falls asleep on the couch

You might think that everything has its fixed place in the human body, but perhaps you would be surprised to learn that there are instances in which the natural order is disturbed - take endometriosis, for example.

Endometriosis occurs when the lining of the uterus (womb) grows outside of the uterus and is a chronic disease

According to, millions of women suffer from endometriosis, in fact, it is estimated that 5-10% or 176 million women of childbearing age are affected during the prime years of their lives. 

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According to new research, fatigue could be a sign of endometriosis along with the other symptoms described below, but it is often ignored by doctors. As a result, many women don’t receive the care they need. 

According to Elite Daily, a new international study shows that chronic fatigue in women isn’t just a common sign that you might have endometriosis, but it'’s also an “underestimated symptom”.

The study took place over six years, from 2010 to 2016, and looked at over 1100 women from the European countries of Switzerland, Germany, and Austria. Half of them had endometriosis, and while the other half didn't.

These women were given a questionairre that asked them about their various lifestyle factors, quality of life, mental health disorders and medical and family histories. 

The study found that over half the women who had endometriosis suffered from “frequent fatigue” and the women who experienced fatigue in relation to their endometriosis were also more likely to experience certain conditions and were found to have have a more than "seven-fold increase in insomnia, a four-fold increase in depression, a two-fold increase in pain and a nearly 1.5-fold increase in occupational stress."

Basically, the fatigue isn’t bad enough – it also leads to insomnia, mental health issues and a lot of stress. 

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You can't prevent endometriosis but if you have endometriosis you can reduce the symptoms by lowering the levels of the hormone oestrogen in your body.

The most common symptom of endometriosis is pain. These pain symptoms can have a huge impact on the everyday aspects of life, from personal relationships to careers. Different women experience different degrees of pain and the pain intensity can change from month to month. The result is that these symptoms are initially interpreted as normal menstrual complaints. 

The different types of pain include:

  • Very painful menstrual cramps which may get worse over time
  • Chronic pain in the lower back and pelvis
  • Pain during or after intercourse 
  • Painful bowel movements or pain when urinating during menstrual periods is experienced 
  • Bleeding or spotting between menstrual periods
  • Infertility, or difficulty in falling pregnant
  • Stomach (digestive) problems. This can include diarrhoea, constipation, bloating, or nausea, especially during menstrual periods.

Unfortunately, there is no simple test that can be used to diagnose endometriosis and definitive diagnosis is only possible with a laparoscopy and tissue biopsy. However, if you experience any of the above symptoms, it is important to seek out advice from your doctor.  

Keep in mind, you can't prevent endometriosis but if you have endometriosis you can reduce the symptoms by lowering the levels of the hormone oestrogen in your body. Oestrogen helps to thicken the lining of your uterus during your menstrual cycle.

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Some easy tips to lower your oestrogen levels: 

• Regular exercise helps you keep a low percentage of body fat. When regular exercise and a lower amount of body fat are combined, it helps    decrease the amount of estrogen circulating through the body.
• Avoid large amounts of alcohol as it raises estrogen levels.  
• Avoid drinks containing caffeine. Studies show that drinking more than one caffeinated drink a day can raise estrogen levels.

Although there is currently no cure for endometriosis – there is a treatment to effectively alleviate pain and other symptoms, reduce the lesions, enhance fertility, and improve quality of life. Endometriosis doesn’t have to be an undiagnosed disease, it can be managed . 

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