Medically reviewed by Ms. Roisin Traynor, mental health counsellor
Endometriosis is truly a full-body condition. Painful cramps, heavy bleeding, pain during sex, pain during urinating, severe bloating, fatigue, infertility, and much more – it’s no wonder that the symptoms of endo can wreak havoc on your mental health.
Many people with endometriosis in Joii’s patient panels talk about how endometriosis has impacted their mental health. Not only do they deal with chronic pain and flare-ups, but the stigma surrounding menstrual health, periods, and heavy bleeding make it even more difficult to cope with. Experiencing medical gaslighting, dismissal, delayed diagnosis, and unsuccessful treatments all contribute to the struggle that these patients deal with on a regular basis.
It’s important to remember that if you have endo and experience any mental health issues, you aren’t alone. We’ve worked with our mental health counsellor, Ms. Roisin Traynor, on how your mental health can be impacted.
How can your life be affected by endometriosis?
Time and time again, Roisin has seen the toll that endo can take on a woman’s mental health. Roisin has endo herself, so she has first-hand experience of how it can impact a person’s mental well-being. She describes how a person’s life can be affected by endo, such as:
- Forced lifestyle changes due to pain.
- Worries of the future.
- Isolation and loneliness.
- Medical gaslighting and medical trauma.
- Unsuccessful or repeated treatments.
- Struggles with fertility.
- Body dissatisfaction and negative self-image.
- Reduced social interactions.
- Reduced productivity levels.
- Struggles with intimacy.
- The uncertainty of getting a diagnosis.
- Financial loss.
Members of our own endo panel have also expressed their experiences with mental health issues related to their condition.
Studies have shown that there is a strong correlation between endometriosis and negative mental well-being. Patients with this condition are more likely to suffer from anxiety, depression, mood disorders, and suicidal thoughts. In fact, 1 in 3 people with endo suffer with one of these mental health struggles, with varying levels of severity . In a group of 104 women with endo, 86% presented with depressive symptoms (32% had severe symptoms) and 87% experienced anxiety (63% had major anxiety) .
Age was found to be associated with an increased risk of depression and anxiety, meaning that the longer you live with the condition and experience reduced quality of life, the more likely you are to feel depression or anxiety.
Living with a chronic pain condition such as endometriosis can feel like a never-ending suffering. In our next article, we dive into ‘the cycle of pain’ to explain how your physical and mental state are connected, and what you can do to cope.
Next article: Understanding the cycle of pain and your mental health
 Rodrigo de P. Sepulcri and Vivian F. do Amaral. Depressive symptoms, anxiety, and quality of life in women with pelvic endometriosis. European Journal of Obsetetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology. Vol 142. Issue 1. January 2009. 53-56.