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Endometriosis can cause persistent pain in many areas in the body – which can lead those with endo to wonder if that pain or symptom they feel is related to their endometriosis. Often, patients ask: can endometriosis cause leg pain or affect their legs: The short answer is YES!
Endometriosis can cause leg symptoms, such as numbness, tingling, throbbing pain, stabbing pain, a heaviness sensation and pain that is worse with walking or exercise. That pain can also change in intensity throughout the menstrual cycle.
To understand conceptually how this happens, let’s recap what endometriosis is. Endometriosis is when inflammatory tissue grows outside of the uterus. It can grow anywhere in the body, however, most commonly it is found around the abdominal and pelvic area, surrounding the bowels, bladder, and the pelvic floor. The inflammation is progressive and can invade the space in and around nerves, which in turn, causes the nerves to become inflamed.
Since endometriosis is a disease of inflammation, we know that it can grow and cause inflammation all over the body.
When the nerves that provide sensation to the legs become inflamed, they can transmit signals of pain. The symptoms vary depending on which nerves are affected. For example, when the sciatic nerve is affected, pain can start in the low back and radiate down to the leg, the butt, the thigh and even to the foot. The pain can affect one or both sides. Other nerves can cause pain in the front of the thigh or near the groin.
Endo patients are quick to mention that this endometriosis leg pain and numbness feels different than usual muscle cramping or soreness. It sometimes feels warm or tingly. It may even radiate over one or both legs.
Some things you can do to help ease your pain are using a heating pad, lying on your side, resting, taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatories or anti-inflammatory supplements, green tea, and acetaminophen (Tylenol).
Initially, the pain may only be present during periods. However, over time with chronic inflammation over the nerves, the pain can become constant. Pelvic Rehabilitation Medicine provides a restorative approach to decrease the nerve inflammation, create space around the nerves, thereby, increasing blood flow to the area, and promoting the cycle of inflammation to be broken.