Hip Pain and Endometriosis
Last updated: April 2023
Endometriosis and adenomyosis are not the only things going awry with my body. I also have a lot of orthopedic issues, probably due to the fact that I have a connective tissue disorder known as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.
My experiences with hip pain
In particular, starting in my early twenties, I began to have a lot of pain in my hips, especially in my left hip. But my MRI didn't detect anything, so the doctors chalked it up to tendinitis and put me through several months of PT, which included ultrasound treatments, stretching and strengthening exercises, and icing. My hip improved significantly, and other than an occasional flare here or there that was easily ameliorated by some icing and stretching, my hip stayed stable for well over a decade. However, beginning in my mid-late 30s, my hip pain returned and the standard techniques I used no longer was enough to assuage the pain- which grew worse by the week.
Around this time, my periods also had been growing increasingly painful and heavy and I was having a lot of spinal and low back pain as well. As such, I was ordered again to have more imaging- not just an MRI this time, but an MRA. For an MRA, special dye was injected directly into my front hip to help highlight the area. The MRA did show something: a labral tear (the labrum is the cartilage between the ball and socket pof the hip bones that tether them together). I originally planned to have hip surgery to correct this tear, but then pulled out before the date arrived due to my new EDS diagnosis and other complications. The hip surgery would have required the doctor to literally pull out my hip joint apart to get to the labrum, which can have more complications for someone with EDS as they are more especially susceptible to injury. I also live on the top floor of a building with no elevator and such a surgery would have required no stairs for six weeks, making it impossible for me to live and function, as I live alone. Instead, I opted for injections and another round of physical therapy.
What causes hip pain?
While my hip pain has waxed and waned over the past few years, it has lingered. However, so have my other health and pain issues. I recently decided to see a new hip specialist. I was heartened that this doctor believed that hip surgery would not have helped me and that I made the right choice by cancelling it. Additionally, upon hearing that I was having a hysterectomy, this doctor told me that he would rather wait till a few months after the surgery before conducting another round of imaging. As I suspected, he said hip pain can often be caused or exacerbated by reproductive issues in women such as endo, adeno, and fibroids, as the hips house a network of nerves that intersect with those affected by the reproductive system. I also have one of my four fibroids that sits right against the left side near my bad hip.
Connection between hip pain and reproductive issues
This is backed up a bit by scientific evidence, going back as far as 20 years. In 1999, a peer review paper discussed a case of a young woman with bad hip pain. Her MRI showed evidence of endometriosis in the pelvic cavity, directly adjacent to the hips. As the paper noted in its abstract, "Depending on the location of the endometriosis, it can mimic common musculoskeletal problems, especially in young women who are menstruating".1
I do not believe my upcoming hysterectomy will be a panacea to all of my pain problems. But I do think and hope that in addition to treating my adenomyosis, it will also help alleviate at least some of the pain and pressure I feel in my hips, as well as my low back.
What about you? Do you have hip (or low back) pain that you think endo/adeno may be causing or worsening? If you had a hysterectomy or excision treatment, did it help at all? Please share your experiences in the comments below.
Which symptoms are you experiencing the most this week? (Check all that apply):