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5 ways that endometriosis can impact your relationship, and what you can do about it

Updated: Jul 4, 2023


Endometriosis can have a significant impact on quality of life, not just for those assigned female at birth with the condition but also for those who are close to them including partners, family, friends, and colleagues.


In particular, this chronic condition can be particularly destructive when it affects the lives of intimate partners. Not only is the partner impacted but it can cause a lot of pressure onto the relationship.


We reveal the honest truth of the realities that this painful condition can impart onto couples and we’ll provide some helpful tools to navigate them.


Here is what we are covering:

  • Overview of how it affects relationships

  • The physical symptoms of endometriosis

  • The emotional impact of endometriosis

  • How endometriosis can affect intimacy

  • Coping strategies for couples

How endometrisois affects relationships


One of the most common symptoms of endometriosis is pelvic pain, which can be severe and chronic.


This pain can make it difficult to engage in sexual activity, causing frustration and strain in intimate relationships.


Additionally, endometriosis can cause painful periods and heavy bleeding, which can interfere with daily activities and create emotional stress.

Another significant impact of endometriosis on relationships is its effect on fertility.


Endometriosis can cause infertility in a number of ways, including blocking or damaging the fallopian tubes and interfering with ovulation or implantation of a fertilized egg.



This can create tension and strain in a relationship, particularly if there are differing opinions on treatment options or if one partner blames the other for infertility.

The emotional toll of endometriosis can also affect relationships.


Those with endometriosis may feel isolated, anxious, or depressed, which can create distance and strain in a relationship.


Additionally, partners may feel helpless or unsure of how to provide support or help manage the symptoms of endometriosis.


The physical symptoms of endometriosis


Painful sex


One of the most common symptoms of endometriosis is painful sex, which can have a significant impact on physical and emotional well-being, as well as on relationships.

Painful sex, also known as dyspareunia, is often described as a sharp or burning pain that occurs during or after intercourse.


It can be caused by a variety of factors, including the presence of endometrial tissue in or around the vagina, inflammation or scarring of the pelvic organs, and muscle tension or spasm.


For those with endometriosis, painful sex is often related to the location of the endometrial tissue.


Tissue that grows on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or ligaments that support the uterus can cause pain during deep penetration.


Additionally, endometriosis can cause pelvic floor dysfunction, which can lead to muscle tension or spasm that contributes to pain during sex.

The physical pain of dyspareunia can be debilitating, but it can also have emotional consequences.


Those with endometriosis may feel anxious or depressed about sex, or they may avoid it altogether to avoid the pain.


This can put a strain on a relationship, particularly if a partner doesn't understand the cause of the pain or feels rejected or frustrated.

If you are experiencing painful sex due to endometriosis, it's important to talk to your healthcare provider or care navigator about treatment options.


There are a variety of medications, including pain relievers and hormonal therapies, that can help manage symptoms.


Additionally, physical therapy and counseling may be beneficial in addressing pelvic floor dysfunction and the emotional impact of dyspareunia.

It's also important to communicate with your partner about your symptoms and how they are affecting you.


This can help them understand what you are going through and provide emotional support.


Exploring alternative forms of intimacy, such as cuddling or holding hands, can also help maintain a close connection while you work on managing your symptoms.

Remember that you are not alone in your struggle with painful sex and endometriosis. With the right treatment and support, it is possible to manage your symptoms and maintain a fulfilling relationship.


Heavy menstrual bleeding


Endometriosis is a condition that affects the tissue lining the uterus, causing it to grow outside of the uterus.


One of the most common symptoms of endometriosis is heavy menstrual bleeding, which can be painful and interfere with daily life.



This symptom can have a significant impact on physical and emotional well-being, as well as relationships.

Heavy menstrual bleeding, also known as menorrhagia, is defined as bleeding that lasts longer than 7 days or involves soaking through a pad or tampon every hour for several hours in a row.


It can be caused by a variety of factors, including hormonal imbalances, fibroids, and adenomyosis, but endometriosis is also a common cause.

The excess endometrial tissue can lead to an overgrowth of blood vessels, causing heavy and prolonged bleeding during a woman's menstrual cycle.


The bleeding can be accompanied by severe cramping and pelvic pain, making it difficult to carry out daily activities or engage in sexual activity.

The emotional impact of heavy menstrual bleeding can also be significant. It may lead to anxiety or embarrassment about the amount of bleeding or worry about accidents.


This can lead to feelings of isolation and a reluctance to engage in social activities or be intimate with your partner.

If you are experiencing heavy menstrual bleeding due to endometriosis, it's important to talk to your healthcare provider about treatment options.


Hormonal therapies, such as birth control pills or intrauterine devices (IUDs), can help regulate the menstrual cycle and reduce bleeding.


In addition to medical treatment, there are lifestyle changes that can help manage heavy menstrual bleeding.


These include maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and avoiding alcohol and caffeine.


It's also important to practice good self-care during your menstrual cycle, such as taking warm baths, using heating pads, and practicing relaxation techniques.

If heavy menstrual bleeding is impacting your relationship, it's important to communicate with your partner about what you are going through.


Explaining your symptoms and how they affect you can help your partner understand what you need and how they can provide support.


You may also want to explore alternative forms of intimacy during your menstrual cycle, such as cuddling or spending time together without engaging in sexual activity.

Remember that heavy menstrual bleeding is a common symptom of endometriosis, and you are not alone in your experience.


With the right treatment and support, it is possible to manage your symptoms and maintain a fulfilling relationship.


Infertility


One of the most significant impacts of endometriosis on relationships is its effect on fertility.


Endometriosis can make it difficult to conceive, which can have a significant emotional toll on both partners.

Endometriosis can cause infertility in a number of ways.


The abnormal tissue growth can block or damage the fallopian tubes, making it difficult for eggs to be fertilized or travel to the uterus.


Additionally, endometrial tissue can cause inflammation in the pelvis, which can interfere with ovulation or implantation of a fertilized egg.


The impact of infertility on a relationship can be significant.


Couples may feel frustrated, sad, or angry about their inability to conceive.


Those with endometriosis may feel guilty or inadequate, while your partner may feel helpless or powerless.


These emotions can create tension and strain in a relationship, particularly if one partner blames the other for the infertility or if there are differing opinions on treatment options.

It's important for couples dealing with infertility due to endometriosis to communicate openly and honestly with each other about their feelings and concerns.

In terms of treatment, there are a variety of options available to couples dealing with endometriosis-related infertility.


In some cases, surgical removal of endometrial tissue or repair of blocked fallopian tubes may be necessary.


Assisted reproductive technologies, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), may also be an option.

It's important for couples to explore all available options and make a decision that feels right for you.


It's also important to remember that infertility does not define a relationship and that there are many ways to build a fulfilling and meaningful life together, with or without children.


The emotional impact of endometriosis


Depression and anxiety


Living with chronic pain and other symptoms of endometriosis can be emotionally draining and can cause feelings of isolation, frustration, and helplessness.


This can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.



In fact, studies have shown that women with endometriosis are more likely to experience depression and anxiety than women without the condition.

The impact of endometriosis on fertility can also contribute to depression and anxiety.


Those with endometriosis may feel a sense of loss or grief over their inability to conceive, which can be emotionally devastating.

It's important for those with endometriosis to seek treatment for both their physical and mental health.


This may involve pain management, hormonal therapies, and other treatments to manage the symptoms of endometriosis.


Mood swings


One of the symptoms that women with endometriosis may experience is mood swings, which can be caused by hormonal fluctuations, chronic pain, and the emotional toll of managing a chronic illness.


Hormonal fluctuations can cause mood swings in women with endometriosis.


The menstrual cycle is regulated by hormones, and when there is an imbalance, it can cause mood swings, irritability, and other emotional symptoms.



Those with endometriosis may experience these hormonal fluctuations more severely, leading to more intense mood swings.

Chronic pain is another factor that can contribute to mood swings in those with endometriosis.


Chronic pain can be emotionally draining and can lead to feelings of frustration, hopelessness, and anxiety.


These feelings can contribute to mood swings and other emotional symptoms.

To manage mood swings associated with endometriosis, it's important to take care of your physical and emotional health.


This may involve pain management techniques, hormonal therapies, and other treatments to manage the symptoms of endometriosis.


Feeling like a burden to your partner


One of the emotional challenges that those with endometriosis may face is feeling like a burden to their partner.

Endometriosis can cause chronic pain, fatigue, and other symptoms that can interfere with daily activities and intimate relationships.


Those with endometriosis may feel guilty or ashamed that their condition is affecting their partner, leading to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem.

It's important to remember that their condition is not your fault and that you are not a burden to your partner.


Chronic illness can be difficult for both partners, and it's important to approach it as a team and support each other through the challenges.


How endometriosis can affect intimacy


Decreased libido


There are several factors that can contribute to decreased libido in those with endometriosis.


Chronic pain, fatigue, and hormonal imbalances associated with endometriosis can all affect sexual desire.


Those with endometriosis may also experience anxiety, depression, and other emotional challenges that can interfere with sexual desire.

Pain during intercourse or discomfort in the pelvic area can make sexual activity unappealing or even painful.




This can create feelings of frustration, guilt, and inadequacy for women with endometriosis and their partners.

In addition to physical symptoms, the emotional toll of managing a chronic illness like endometriosis can also contribute to a decreased libido.


Those with endometriosis may feel anxious, depressed, or overwhelmed by their condition, leading to a lack of interest in sexual activity.

It's important for those with endometriosis and their partners to communicate openly about their sexual desires and any challenges they may be facing.


This may involve exploring alternative forms of intimacy or finding ways to manage the physical and emotional symptoms of endometriosis that are interfering with sexual desire.

Treatment for endometriosis, such as hormone therapy or surgery, may also improve libido in some cases.


Seeking support from a healthcare provider or care navigator can be helpful in managing the physical and emotional symptoms of endometriosis and improving sexual desire.


Fear of pain


Those with endometriosis may experience chronic pelvic pain, painful periods, pain during sex, and other symptoms that can interfere with daily activities and quality of life.


The fear of experiencing this pain can create anxiety, stress, and avoidance behaviors that can further impact the quality of life.

The fear of pain associated with endometriosis can also impact intimate relationships.

Managing the fear of pain associated with endometriosis requires a multi-disciplinary approach.


Those with endometriosis should work with their healthcare providers to manage their symptoms through medication, lifestyle changes, and other treatments.


This may involve seeking specialized care from healthcare providers who are experienced in managing endometriosis.

It's important for those with endometriosis to remember that their fear of pain is understandable and valid.


Open communication with your partners, healthcare providers, and mental health professionals can help manage the fear of pain associated with endometriosis and improve your overall quality of life.


Difficulty communicating about sex

Endometriosis is a chronic condition that can have a significant impact on sexual health and well-being.


It can cause pain, discomfort, and other symptoms that may make sexual activity challenging or even impossible.


As a result, it's common to experience difficulty communicating with their partners about sex.

Communicating about sex can be challenging for many couples, regardless of whether or not one partner has endometriosis.


However, the condition can make it even more difficult to broach the subject, as you may feel ashamed or embarrassed about your symptoms or the inability to engage in sexual activity.

Those with endometriosis may also feel anxious or fearful about discussing sex with their partners, especially if they fear that their partners may not understand or may become frustrated with their condition.


This can lead to avoidance behavior, which can further strain the relationship.

To overcome these communication barriers, it's important to approach the topic of sex with your partners in a sensitive and open manner.


This may involve scheduling a time to talk when both partners are relaxed and comfortable.\


It's also important, to be honest and clear about your symptoms and how they are affecting your sexual health.


Coping strategies for couples


Open communication


Open communication is crucial for those with endometriosis to manage their symptoms effectively and maintain healthy relationships.


Endometriosis is a chronic condition that can cause physical and emotional challenges, such as pain, discomfort, infertility, anxiety, and depression.



Open communication can help those with endometriosis express their needs, seek support, and manage their symptoms effectively.

Those with endometriosis may find it challenging to talk about their symptoms with their partners, friends, or family members due to shame, embarrassment, or fear of being a burden.


Open communication is essential for those with endometriosis to manage their symptoms, seek support, and maintain healthy relationships.


Those with endometriosis should not be afraid to express their needs and concerns and seek support from healthcare providers, mental health professionals, and support groups who specialize in endometriosis.


Supportive relationships


Supportive relationships can play a critical role in helping those with endometriosis manage their symptoms, cope with emotional and physical challenges, and maintain a positive outlook on life.


Endometriosis is a chronic condition that can cause pain, discomfort, infertility, and other symptoms that can affect daily life and relationships.


Having a supportive partner, family member, friend, or healthcare provider can make a significant difference in your quality of life.

Supportive relationships can provide those with endometriosis with emotional, practical, and advocacy support, and help them manage their symptoms, cope with emotional and physical challenges, and maintain healthy relationships.


Those with endometriosis should seek support from their partners, family members, friends, or healthcare providers who are knowledgeable and understanding of the condition.


Seeking professional help

While supportive relationships can play a critical role in helping women with endometriosis manage their symptoms, seeking professional help can also be essential in managing the condition's physical and emotional impact.


Endometriosis is a complex and chronic condition that can have a significant impact on women's health and quality of life.


Seeking professional help can provide women with access to expert medical advice, psychological support, and lifestyle interventions that can help manage the symptoms and improve overall health and well-being.


For access to a multi-disciplinary team of endometriosis specialists that prioritize your unique needs and journey, sign up today, gain access to a library full of classes, educational content and video's from renowned doctors immediately.



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