Sexual Health Q&A

What kinds of sexual problems are caused by endometriosis?

Endometriosis occurs when endometriotic tissue (which typically lines the uterus) is found outside the uterus. This tissue might be found on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder, rectum, or intestines. It can also appear on the peritoneum, the membrane that lines the abdominal cavity.

The main symptom of endometriosis is chronic pelvic pain, which may worsen before and during a woman’s menstrual period. Depending on where the endometrial tissue is located, a woman may have pain when urinating or having a bowel movement.

Sexual Pain

Endometriosis can also cause sexual pain, especially if the tissue is near the vagina. The pain may be mild or severe. Some women describe it as a stabbing pain. Thrusting from the penis can irritate the growths and pain may get worse as penetration deepens. Sometimes, the pain remains after intercourse, from a few hours to a couple of days.

The anticipation of pain can make a woman tense, adding to a cycle of pain.

Emotional Issues

Feelings of inadequacy and concerns about partners are common in women with endometriosis. They may feel guilty, frustrated, or depressed because they can’t have sex the way they used to.

Relationship Issues

Endometriosis can lead to a number of relationship problems. Some women avoid sex because of the pain. Partners may feel rejected. Some couples drift apart and stop being intimate. Women may worry that their relationship will end because of endometriosis. Many couples find themselves unable to talk about the problem.

Other Sexual Issues

Taken together, the above issues can contribute to less sexual satisfaction and desire. Women with endometriosis may also have fewer orgasms.

Fortunately, there are some ways to cope with sexual difficulties caused by endometriosis.