Is It PCOS or Endometriosis or Both?

The symptoms of diseases like endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can often overlap, causing diagnosis delays and months (if not years) of unnecessary pain and suffering. There are some clear distinctions between the two, which means you should be able to work out which condition you’re more likely to have. However, it’s not uncommon for women to suffer from both conditions.

According to, here are the main signs and symptoms of each disease:

It’s estimated that around 10 percent of women of childbearing age will suffer from endometriosis, although many have not yet been diagnosed. The first symptom many women experience is very painful periods, along with pain before and after periods; pain during sex; and pain going to the bathroom. Endometriosis can also cause fertility problems.

MORE: Living with endometriosis is painful, period.

Between 5 percent and 10 percent of women suffer from PCOS, but again, many of these women have not been diagnosed. PCOS is due to a hormone imbalance which can often lead to women putting on weight. Irregular periods are one of the main symptoms of PCOS — women often go months without menstruating and then experience a very heavy period. Other signs of PCOS are hair growing in strange places (often the face), developing bald patches, acne and difficulty getting pregnant.

Both Endometriosis and PCOS
For women who have both conditions, they may find that they have irregular periods, but when they do occur they are both heavy and extremely painful. Bad skin and strange hair growth may accompany chronic pelvic pain. Both conditions could make it difficult to conceive.

Birth control pills are usually the first line of defense against both PCOS and endometriosis. Although the pill won’t cure endometriosis, if monthly packs are taken back to back, they’ll stop the woman from having her period and worsening her symptoms. The pill will also regulate hormones so it’s useful for treating PCOS, and taken with the seven-day break, can help regulate periods. However, the contraceptive pill is obviously not a solution if you plan to get pregnant.

MORE: How endometriosis affects fertility

Endometriosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.