How To Know If You Have Pcos, Endometriosis, Or Both

Though most of the symptoms are dissimilar, and they affect variance parts of the reproductive system, both mess with your menstruation, both can make you feel like complete hell, and both can cause fertility problems. As though all this didn’t suck enough, it just so happens that the two conditions are notoriously difficult to get a diagnosis for, and many women go years without knowing what’s really wrong. If you’re experiencing unexplained symptoms or are having trouble conceiving, here is a guide to help you determine whether you might have PCOS, endometriosis, or both.

Polycystic ovary syndrome

Main symptoms:

You have irregular periods. “That can mean a period every two to three months or even a period once or twice a year,” says Ross. The length between periods might vary, but when your period does come, it can be pretty heavy.

You experience unexplained weight gain. Hormonal issues can cause added pounds, so women with PCOS are more likely to be overweight or obese, says Ross.

You grow hair in unexpected places. This is called hirsutism, Ross explains—basically male-pattern hair growth on places like your chin, the sides of your face, and your abdomen. On the flip side, you might also experience male-pattern baldness, Idries Abdur-Rahman, M.D., a board-certified ob/gyn, tells SELF.

Your skin erupts with acne. Hormonal shifts can lead to oily skin and pimples, says Ross.

You have trouble getting pregnant. Since you don’t ovulate on a regular basis when you have PCOS, it can be harder to conceive, says Abdur-Rahman.

Endometriosis

Main symptoms:

You have intensely painful periods. Endometriosis causes “very severe, painful cramps that can be disruptive to your normal daily routine,” says Ross.

You experience pain during sex or while using the bathroom. The pangs often crop up during these activities, says Abdur-Rahman, although generalized pelvic pain when you’re not doing any of the above is another tip-off, according to Ross.

You have trouble getting pregnant. Just like with PCOS, having endometriosis doesn’t always mean it’ll be impossible to conceive, but it can definitely make it tougher, the experts explain.

If you happen to have both…

There are many mix-and-match possibilities. You might rarely get your period, but when you do it’s horribly painful, explains Abdur-Rahman. Or maybe you have consistent pelvic pain, and hair is growing in strange places on your body. But since infertility occurs with both, Ross posits that’s likely to be the main overlap between the two.

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