The Main Differences Between IBS And Endometriosis And What Treatment You Will Need


woman holding stomach

When it comes to IBS, the symptoms can feel distinctly similar to other illnesses, such as Endometriosis. So, it’s important to go to a medical professional or doctor to fully understand the difference and which one you could be suffering from. In this article, we will be looking at what exactly Endometriosis is, how it differs from IBS in terms of its symptoms, and which treatments are available.

What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis, for many, can be a painful illness to live with. The cause of it is down to a retrograde menstrual flow, where some tissues are shed during periods and flow through the fallopian tube, into other areas of our body, such as our pelvis. This can be a genetic illness, which often runs in the family and is thus, inherited through genes. Endometriosis can affect women of any age, during any stage of their menstrual cycle. Whilst this is considered a long-term condition, that impacts many aspects of our day-to-day life, there are many treatments that can help reduce the symptoms.

One important thing to note is that endometriosis symptoms can vary and whilst some women can be affected badly whilst others have reported only mild variations of this illness. Some of the main symptoms to look out for are: 

  • Pain in your lower tummy or back, otherwise described as pelvic pain and typically will worsen during your cycle.
  • Pain during or after sex
  • Pain whilst going to the bathroom
  • Feeling sick, constipation, diarrhea, or having more toilet trips than normal during your period 
  • Heavier periods, often bleeding through clothes or using more tampons and pads than normal

The Main Differences Between IBS And Endometriosis

Whilst some of the symptoms overlap between IBS and Endometriosis, these are two very different illnesses and must be treated separately. The symptoms of Endometriosis can be felt in the pelvic area, similar to IBS, but Irritable Bowel Syndrome actually affects the large intestine. This can cause feelings of bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, and abdominal cramping, which if you have Endometriosis, can feel very similar. However, Endometriosis typically affects you around your period, causing painful periods and more these feelings only intensify during your cycle. However, the symptoms that coincide with IBS, don’t link up to your monthly period and you will feel them all the time. 

It’s vital to understand the difference between these two illnesses and be treated for either both or which one you may have. To fully understand which one you may be suffering from, we recommend talking to a medical professional or doctor. As these symptoms do overlap in type and feeling, it’s of the utmost importance that you seek a diagnosis before trialing any sort of treatment. 

woman lying down

What Treatment You Will Need For Endometriosis Or IBS

After speaking to your medical professional, you will be able to narrow down which is the best route for you to take to tackle these illnesses. For Endometriosis, there is a range of things you can try, such as:

  • Take regular, over-the-counter painkillers such as Ibuprofen or Paracetamol, to help manage the symptoms
  • Talk to your doctor about going on the combined pill or contraceptive patch, in order to manage your cycle
  • Surgery to cut away any patches of Endometriosis tissue

Whereas, IBS can be entirely different when it comes to treating it. There is no end-all cure for IBS, but you can manage it by looking into a Low FODMAP diet, sticking to the traffic light system, or switching out some of your typical food options for gut-friendly alternatives. 

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