The Connection Between Endometriosis And Depression
Last updated: January 2021
In people with endometriosis, the tissue similar to that lining the inside of the uterus is found outside of the uterus instead. This lining is called the endometrium. Endometriosis can cause people living with the condition to have infertility, irregular menstrual periods, and painful menstrual periods. In some people, endometriosis also causes chronic pelvic pain (CPP). This means they have pain in the pelvic area that can be either constant or pain that comes and goes.1
Endometriosis affects 1 in 10 people of childbearing age. According to our 3rd Endometriosis in America survey, 50 percent of survey respondents have also been diagnosed with depression.
The consequences of endometriosis
Nearly half of people who live with endometriosis find that they are unable to get pregnant. When a person with endometriosis gets pregnant, they have a higher risk of having a pregnancy-related complication, research shows. A complication could be anything from having a miscarriage or a preterm baby to having a C-section or pre-eclampsia. If a person has pre-eclampsia, this means they develops high blood pressure and protein in the urine later in pregnancy.2
Also, people with endometriosis may find that their social relationships can be affected. Not surprisingly, those who live with endometriosis report high levels of anxiety and depression.3
People with endometriosis who report chronic pelvic pain have higher levels of depression than those with endometriosis who do not have chronic pelvic pain, according to research.3,4
Depression can have a big effect on a person’s quality of life. Even though it is more common in people who have chronic pelvic pain and endometriosis, those who have endometriosis but no pain may still experience depression. Getting emotional support can be helpful for all people with endometriosis, not just those who have pelvic pain.3,4
Treating pain may help with depression
When a person gets treatment for endometriosis, one goal is to control their pain. Another is to improve their quality of life and to prevent the endometriosis from coming back. Doctors also aim to make sure that a person who wants to become pregnant will be able to.
One treatment for endometriosis uses hormones. Besides improving quality of life, hormonal therapy improves the symptoms of anxiety and depression, researchers found. For some people with endometriosis, surgery can be the treatment of choice. Some research finds that those who have surgery for their endometriosis have less depression and anxiety.5
Some physicians advise that all people with endometriosis should consider having a psychological evaluation; This evaluation could be helpful in determining if they are at risk for developing depression and anxiety. If they are at risk for these mental health conditions, they could then receive support to help them cope.5
Help is available
If a person is diagnosed with anxiety or depression, there are many resources that can help. Drugs, psychotherapy, or a combination can relieve anxiety or depression. The drugs for depression are called antidepressants. Sometimes the same medicines that work for depression can work for anxiety. The drugs can improve the way you control your mood and your stress. They can take 2 to 4 weeks to work. It is important to find one that has manageable side effects in addition to improving your symptoms.6,7
If you have endometriosis and also have symptoms of anxiety and/or depression, talk to your doctor about what treatment might be right for you. There is help available.
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