What is endo belly and why does it happen?

March is Endometriosis Awareness month. We share useful information about an often poorly understood symptom of endometriosis – endo belly.

In the UK, an estimated two million women battle endometriosis.

Endometriosis is a long-term condition that causes the endometrium (the lining of your womb) to grow outside of your womb. If you have endometriosis, this endometrium tissue may also grow on your ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes and bladder.

A symptom of endometriosis that is often overlooked and poorly understood is endo belly. 

What is endo belly?

Endo belly refers to the painful and debilitating pelvic bloating that women with endometriosis can experience.

If you have endometriosis, endometrium tissue grows outside of your uterus. This tissue is known as endometriosis tissue. As it grows outside of your uterus, endometriosis tissue becomes trapped inside your body. This is because it cannot leave your body through your uterus (as a period).

Trapped endometriosis tissue causes swelling, pain and bloating. These symptoms lead to what is commonly referred to as endo belly. 

Alongside endo belly, the most common symptoms of endometriosis include heavy periods, abdominal (stomach) pain, back pain, pain while urinating, infertility and miscarriages. 

In addition to bloating, other gastro intestinal (stomach and bowel) symptoms of endometriosis include diarrhoea, constipation and painful bowel movements.   

Why does endo belly happen?

The cause of endo belly is trapped endometriosis tissue, which leads to debilitating bloating and pain in the pelvic area.

Woman with endo belly

When does endo belly occur?

The NHS labels gastrointestinal (stomach and bowel) endometriosis symptoms such as diarrhoea, constipation and endo belly as cyclical.  

These symptoms appear a few days before your period starts and ease after menstruation has ended.

These symptoms will reappear the following month before your menstruation begins.   

Endo belly remedies

While many women use traditional treatment options for endometriosis, some remedies are available to help alleviate pain.

One potential remedy for endometriosis pain in general is CBD oil. There is evidence reported by Harvard Medical to show that cannabidiol, otherwise known as CBD oil, can help with chronic pain and inflammation.

Woman using CBD oil for endometriosis pain

Integrative Physician, Dr Amy Gajjar says: “CBD is also known to have mild analgesic (pain relief) properties which are important for reducing the pain that comes along with endometriosis.”  

Dr Amy (Ameeta) Gajjar is an Integrative Physician (GP) who combines health coaching and yoga into her medical approach. She has a special interest in thyroid, gut health and autoimmunity. Dr Amy Gajjar trained in London at the Imperial College School of Medicine and has over 20 years of clinical experience. 

While they are not remedies as such, heat therapy and massage therapy can be effective alternative therapies for endometriosis pain. 

Applying a warm compress such as heat pad or a hot water bottle wrapped in towelling to the lower back or pelvic area (the lower stomach) can reduce pain and swelling.    

Endo belly remedy: heat therapy with hot water bottle

Massage therapy is another option. Research shows that this form of therapy can reduce menstrual pain caused by endometriosis.  

If you are struggling with the devastating consequences of endometriosis, our team of Consultant gynaecologists at Circle Health Group can provide you with specialist advice on endometriosis and help diagnose any other related conditions.   

If you would like to book an appointment to discuss a diagnosis or treatment options, please contact our team at Circle Health Group through our enquiry form or call us on 0808 101 0337.  


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