The differences and connection between endometriosis and fibroids

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Endometriosis and some types of uterine fibroids can cause similar symptoms. Because the symptoms are so similar, endometriosis and uterine fibroids can sometimes be mistaken for each other.

The only way to properly diagnose either condition is to see a healthcare provider.

However, you can learn more about the symptoms of fibroids and endometriosis to understand when you should see a doctor, how to discuss your symptoms with them and to narrow down the cause of your pelvic pain.

What is the difference between uterine fibroids and endometriosis?

Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths that occur inside or around the uterus. Only in very few cases do they lead to cancerous growths. Uterine fibroids are common in women. Often, women with uterine fibroids experience no symptoms at all.

However, uterine fibroids can cause:

  • Abnormally heavy or long periods
  • Pelvic pain
  • Difficulties passing urine
  • Increased frequency of urination
  • Constipation
  • Pain in the back or legs

Endometriosis is tissue from the uterus that grows outside of it. This tissue still bleeds and is shed monthly, but because there is no way for it to easily leave the body, it can lead to complications. Endometriosis is a common condition, particularly for women between the ages of 30 and 40. Symptoms of endometriosis include:

  • Menstraul pain
  • Pain during sex
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Chronic pelvic pain
  • Back pain
  • Fertility problems

Are uterine fibroids and endometriosis related?

Research has shown that there may be a link between uterine fibroids and endometriosis. Studies have shown that both may be caused by the same genetic origin.

It is common for women to have both conditions. Endometriosis and uterine fibroids can appear together but they can also both decrease female fertility independently of each other.

A pelvic examination, MRI scan or ultrasound scan may be used to diagnose uterine fibroids.

If medical investigations rule out a diagnosis of fibroids then a medical practitioner may recommend further testing to rule out endometriosis.

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