Living With Endometriosis

NHS

Women with endometriosis can sometimes experience a number of complications.

Fertility problems

Endometriosis can cause fertility problems. This is not fully understood, but is thought to be because of damage to the fallopian tubes or ovaries. But not all women with endometriosis will have problems and some will eventually be able to get pregnant without treatment.

Medication will not improve fertility. Surgery to remove patches of endometriosis tissue can sometimes help, but there's no guarantee this will help you get pregnant.

If you're having difficulty getting pregnant, infertility treatments, such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF), may be an option.

Adhesions and ovarian cysts

Some women will develop:

  • adhesions – "sticky" areas of endometriosis tissue that can join organs together
  • ovarian cysts – fluid-filled cysts in the ovaries that can sometimes become very large and painful

These can both occur if the endometriosis tissue is on or near the ovaries. They can be treated with surgery, but may come back in the future if the endometriosis returns.

Surgery complications

Like all types of surgery, surgery for endometriosis carries a risk of complications. The more common complications are not usually serious, and can include:

  • a wound infection
  • minor bleeding
  • bruising around the wound

Less common, but more serious, risks include:

  • damage to an organ, such as a hole accidentally being made in the womb, bladder or bowel
  • severe bleeding inside the tummy
  • a blood clot in the leg DVT (deep vein thrombosis) or lungs (pulmonary embolism)

Before having surgery, talk to your surgeon about the benefits and possible risks involved.

Bladder and bowel problems

Endometriosis affecting the bladder or bowel can be difficult to treat and may require major surgery. You may be referred to a specialist endometriosis service if your bladder or bowel is affected.

Surgery for endometriosis that's around or inside the bladder may involve cutting away part of the bladder. Treatment for endometriosis that's around or inside the bowel may involve removing a section of bowel.

Some women need to have a temporary colostomy while their bowel heals. This is where the bowel is diverted through a hole in the tummy and waste products are collected in a bag.

Useful resources

This Teachers' Maternity Leave Scheme has been updated to reflect the rules concerning...
EA is committed to ensuring that all individuals are treated fairly and with dignity and...
This programme is a six week training programme for groups of adults and focuses on...
The Menopause Project is an education and research project between Informing Choices NI...
We all have good and bad days but what and when we eat can influence our mood, energy,...
Around one in five women will experience a mental health issue during pregnancy or within...
There are a number of health campaigns throughout the year to raise awareness of...
Cancer Focus NI, Keeping Well vans are mobile drop-in units which bring health checks,...
This includes: Raising awareness of depression and Aware NI services at a wide range of...
We are delighted to provide this FREE digital toolkit. Designed in partnership with the...
Affected by breast cancer? Join this group to share experiences and ask questions to...
Sometimes when faced with an unplanned or crisis pregnancy it is difficult to discuss it...
Cancer Focus NI can provide a wide range of presentations to meet the needs of your...
Guided meditations
Learn to manage negative thoughts and look at problems differently
Food diary, exercise tracker and diet coach
Support hub for mothers
Track your treatment and wellbeing
The availability of free period products in public spaces has been increasing owing to...
Pregnancy and guidance for after birth
Active 10 is a free and easy to use walking app that tracks your walking and shows you...
It’s an easy to follow programme known the world over, and perfect for those new to...
Guided meditations
Handle stress and anxiety on the go
Support for breast cancer
This short test will help you understand how heavy your periods are, and point you in the right direction for treatment options.
Your Mind Plan offers practical ideas and advice to help you boost and maintain your mental wellbeing. Answer the quick 5-question quiz and the Every Mind Matters widget will give you 5 tailored actions to help you feel more in control, improve your sleep, deal with stress and anxiety, and boost your mood – as well as the option to easily swap any actions and to save the whole plan via email.

Articles & Videos

Helplines & Web Chats

Informing Choices NI - Helpline
Royal Osteoporosis Society - Helpline
Macmillan - Forum
Macmillan - Ask an expert
Women's Aid - Forum
Association for Post-Natal Illness Helpline
Women's Aid - Domestic abuse helpline