Uterine Fibroids vs. Endometriosis: What’s the difference?

How closely related do you think uterine fibroids and endometriosis are in relation to symptoms? Well, if you were to put these two on a family tree, facts are, they would be located very close to each other.

Pelvic pain isn’t the only symptom they share.  Uterine fibroids and endometriosis have a lot in common as far as symptoms, but there are differences. The main one being where they both form.

Defining the Two

Before we delve into how they are alike and how they differ, let’s first look at what both mean:

  • Uterine Fibroids-These are tumors that grow on your uterus. They grow inside the uterus, outside the uterus, and in the wall lining of the uterus.
  • Endometriosis- Endometrial tissue (like the lining of the uterus) grows outside of the uterus where the body is not able to get rid of it as it does in a normal menstrual cycle. It attaches itself to organs, not in the uterus such as fallopian tubes, bladder, large intestine, and even the lungs. This tissue builds up over time as scar tissue forms around them, causing various levels of pain and discomfort.

What is Shared

Now that we know what each are, let’s take a look at what they share in common:

  • Pelvic Pain- Pain with sex, and pelvic area pain are both shared.
  • Infertility- In more severe cases of each condition, fertility can be negatively impacted.
  • Growths- Both produce growths that can vary in size.
  • Heaving Menstrual Cycle Bleeding- Shared by both.

How They Differ

Some of the areas endometriosis and uterine fibroids differ in are as follows:

  • Where they Grow- Endometriosis growths can attach themselves to different organs, where uterine fibroids only affect the uterus.
  • Timing of Pain- Both of these can cause pain during the menstrual cycle, but endometriosis pain can happen before the cycle begins, and pain when urinating during the cycle.
  • Constipation- Large tumors can cause constipation in uterine fibroids.
  • Longer Menstrual Cycles- Cycles last longer with uterine fibroids.

Understanding the differences between uterine fibroids and endometriosis along with working alongside your doctor, will put you on the proper path for treatment.

At Women’s Healthcare Research, we are working on clinical studies for the treatment of both uterine fibroids and endometriosis.

If you or someone you love is struggling with endometriosis or uterine fibroids, clinical studies may be an option. Qualified candidates who participate will receive study-related care at no cost and receive compensation for travel. To learn more about these studies and see our other research opportunities, click HERE.