Exploring the Link Between Fibromyalgia & Endometriosis: Shared Symptoms & Treatment Paths

Fibromyalgia, a condition characterized by chronic widespread pain and sensitivity to touch impacts 2% of the adult population1, while endometriosis affects 7-15% of women2 and involves the growth of the uterine lining tissue outside the uterus.

In this article, we identify the overlap in symptoms and explore the evidence-based connection, offering you the necessary tools to understand and manage these intertwined conditions.

What is the relationship between fibromyalgia & endometriosis?

Approximately 6% of women with endometriosis also suffer from fibromyalgia, a higher prevalence than would be expected by chance alone3.

The two conditions share various symptoms, including:

  • significant pelvic discomfort
  • fatigue
  • sleep disturbances
  • increased levels of anxiety and depression.

Experts suggest that these conditions may be connected through a phenomenon known as central sensitization4. This is when the central nervous system processes pain differently, leading to increased pain sensitivity. This heightened sensitivity may explain the coexistence of symptoms in both fibromyalgia and endometriosis.

How to tell the difference between fibromyalgia & endometriosis related symptoms

Fibromyalgia typically begins after a significant stressor or develops gradually over time. It is often characterized by widespread pain, tender points, and cognitive impairments known as "brain fog." Key symptoms of fibromyalgia also include:

  • persistent pain throughout the body
  • morning stiffness
  • frequent headaches
  • muscle pain
  • challenges with memory and thinking
  • symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • over 200 possible symptoms.

In contrast, endometriosis involves the growth of tissue similar to the uterine lining but outside the uterus. Its symptoms tend to worsen with the menstrual cycle, causing intense menstrual cramps and digestive issues. These symptoms might be confused with inflammatory bowel disease due to their cyclical nature.

How are fibromyalgia & endometriosis diagnosed?

Diagnosing fibromyalgia and endometriosis is crucial for effective management and treatment. The diagnostic process generally involves:

  • ruling out other conditions that could mimic the symptoms, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis
  • performing comprehensive physical examinations
  • using diagnostic imaging methods
  • employing surgical techniques such as laparoscopy, particularly for endometriosis, for a definitive diagnosis.


The diagnostic journey for fibromyalgia is intricate and requires a detailed discussion of your symptoms, which must have been persistently present for at least three months. The evaluation may also refer to the widespread pain index and symptom severity scale to gauge the extent of your discomfort.

Because no single test definitively confirms fibromyalgia, medical professionals exclude other possible conditions through various tests, including imaging and laboratory work. They follow the criteria set by the American College of Rheumatology to make a diagnosis.

Endometriosis diagnostic process

To diagnose endometriosis, medical practitioners typically:

  • review the patient's health history
  • perform physical examinations
  • use diagnostic imaging, such as ultrasound or MRI.

In certain instances, surgical intervention, particularly laparoscopy, is employed to directly observe and confirm the presence of endometrial lesions. These diagnostic tools help pinpoint the location and extent of the endometrial tissue outside the uterus. Comprehensive diagnostic measures are crucial for devising a personalized treatment plan and accurately assessing the healthcare resources needed to manage endometriosis.

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Treatment options for fibromyalgia & endometriosis

Dealing with the challenges of fibromyalgia and endometriosis can be made manageable with appropriate strategies, which encompass lifestyle adjustments, incorporating meditation techniques, and tapping into various support networks.

Endometriosis treatments

The management of endometriosis primarily focuses on reducing symptoms and managing pain effectively. The following treatments can significantly alleviate discomfort:

  • Hormonal therapies: These include options such as birth control pills, GnRH agonists, and progestins. They can be taken in various forms, including oral pills, injections, or an IUD. The goal is to replicate the hormonal state of pregnancy or menopause, during which endometrial tissue typically does not grow.
  • Surgical intervention: In some cases, surgery may be recommended to remove endometrial growths and scar tissue. This can lead to a substantial decrease in pain and an enhancement in your quality of life.

Adapting your lifestyle to better cope with endometriosis can also be helpful. For instance, adjusting physical activities to align with your menstrual cycle may offer some relief. Remember, treatments should be personalized, considering your specific symptoms, age, and future plans for fertility.

Fibromyalgia treatments

A comprehensive treatment plan is often adopted to manage fibromyalgia symptoms. This plan typically combines over-the-counter pain relievers with psychological training and lifestyle adjustments.


For managing fibromyalgia, medication is just one part of a broader approach to pain management and should be used in conjunction with other pain control strategies that include educational, lifestyle, and psychological support.

Common medicinal treatments encompass:

  • over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen and naproxen
  • antidepressants like sertraline and fluoxetine
  • pain-specific medications such as Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN)
  • anticonvulsants, which are also effective in treating nerve pain, including topiramate and carbamazepine.

Retraining your pain

To better comprehend the concept of pain management, it's essential to recognize that pain is not solely a physical sensation. It is intricately linked to your emotional state, cognitive processes, and environmental factors.

Identifying the factors that exacerbate your pain is a critical first step. These may include stress, negative thinking, or specific activities. Once these triggers are recognized, you can begin to modify them. Modifications may involve dietary changes, improved sleep patterns, increased physical activity, or the adoption of cognitive strategies that reframe how your brain perceives these triggers. Over time, with consistent practice, you can retrain your brain to respond to pain in a new way, potentially reducing the intensity of the pain and diminishing its influence over your daily life.

Stress management

While it's impossible to completely avoid stress, mastering the art of stress management can greatly improve your quality of life. Being adept at handling stress can prevent your body from misinterpreting sensations as painful. There are several effective methods for mitigating stress.

Approaches such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and mindfulness meditation can assist in cultivating healthier thought patterns, anchoring you in the present moment, and promoting relaxation. Additionally, seeking support from friends, talking to a counselor, or participating in a support group can provide an outlet for your emotions and a source of encouragement and support.

Movement & exercise

Engaging in regular movement and exercise is a key component in managing pain effectively. It may seem daunting initially, but the benefits are substantial. Physical activity can elevate your mood, enhance your energy levels, and contribute to better sleep. It's about finding activities that bring you joy and are appropriate for your health.

Starting with gentle exercises, like stretching or walking, can help ease muscle tension. As your flexibility improves, you may experience a reduction in pain, positively impacting your overall health.

Begin with simple, low-impact exercises and listen to your body's response. Approach this journey with kindness towards yourself, allowing for gradual improvements in your strength and endurance. This patient, measured approach will help you increase your activity levels safely.

Sleep quality

Sleep, an integral component of self-care, plays a pivotal role in the management of fibromyalgia and can even alleviate pain.

It is a well-documented fact that the majority of individuals with fibromyalgia struggle to attain the restorative deep sleep necessary for the body's recuperation.

To enhance sleep quality and, by extension, your overall health, consider adopting the following practices:

  • Strive for an average of eight hours of sleep per night, and adhere to a regular sleep schedule.
  • Should you feel the need to nap, ensure it is brief to prevent disruption to your nighttime rest.
  • Engage in daytime activities to promote easier sleep onset at night.
  • Curtail the use of electronic devices before sleep to facilitate mental relaxation.
  • Create a sleep-conducive environment in your bedroom, characterized by darkness and tranquility.
  • Be mindful of caffeine consumption, particularly in the latter part of the day, as its effects can persist and impact sleep.
  • Refrain from consuming substantial meals or alcohol before bedtime, as they can disrupt sleep quality.
  • Incorporate relaxation into your daily routine to further improve sleep patterns and symptom management.

Physical therapy approaches

Applying heat, such as through a warm cloth or a heating pad, can serve as an effective preliminary measure prior to commencing physical activity. This technique is beneficial in alleviating discomfort, thereby facilitating a smoother transition into exercise routines. The application of heat aids in muscle relaxation, which can reduce the pain experienced during stretching or engaging in exercise.

Support resources

When facing chronic conditions such as autoimmune diseases, the value of a strong support system is paramount. It is essential to enhance one's knowledge through reliable online sources and the solidarity found in community support groups, as these can greatly improve the way you handle fibromyalgia and endometriosis.

At MoreGoodDays®, our mission is to guide you in managing your fibromyalgia with expertise and care. We recognize the profound impact this condition can have on your daily life, and we are committed to providing you with accessible resources and strategies designed for ease of use and effectiveness. Our goal is to walk with you towards a life of greater well-being, despite the challenges posed by fibromyalgia.

Download our mobile app for free from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. This will grant you instant access to a selection of our resources and introduce you to the variety of support options available to you.

Seek medical help

If you experience severe pain or other concerning symptoms such as heart palpitations or difficulty breathing, it's important to seek medical attention promptly. I recommend scheduling an appointment with a gynecologist as soon as possible. In situations where symptoms are severe and alarming, do not hesitate to seek emergency medical care, as these signs may indicate a serious health condition that requires immediate attention.