Pain in Legs during Menstruation

There are many different explanations for why your legs hurt. If you observe the symptoms especially at the same time as your period, this may indicate endometriosis. A thorough clarification is now particularly important.

What is Endometriosis?

In endometriosis, tissue grows outside the uterus that resembles the endometrium [1]. The resulting cysts and inflammations are referred to by physicians as endometriosis lesions. They can occur in very different places in the body. Thus, corresponding benign growths are observed on the ovaries, peritoneum or intestines [2]. However, the tissue can also settle in the lungs or even in the brain. Classic complaints range from pain, which is particularly pronounced during menstruation, to cycle discomfort, back pain and infertility [1].

Leg Pain: Endometriosis as the Cause

Endometriosis is not called “a symptom shifter” without reason. While some patients do not express any complaints at all, others have to struggle primarily with the pronounced menstrual pain. Still others complain of more atypical complaints. These include leg pain. These can occur when endometriosis affects important pelvic nerves such as the sciatic nerve or sacral roots [3].

Consider alternative Diagnoses

If leg pain occurs at the same time as the period, this indicates a connection with the female cycle. In principle, however, leg pain can also be attributed to injuries or overuse, which occur coincidentally with the period or are felt more strongly at certain times of the cycle. The woman’s cycle influences the perception of pain differently in the different phases. The different concentrations of the hormones progesterone and estrogen are responsible for this, as are pain messengers known as prostaglandins. Estrogen and progesterone levels are low during the period, while prostaglandins are produced in greater amounts at the end of the period [4]. This could be an explanation why you become more aware of leg pain during menstruation. So, orthopedic causes in the area of nerves, muscles and intervertebral discs must also be considered. However, endometriosis should definitely be ruled out or diagnosed in case of persistent cycle-related pain episodes.

Would you like to learn more about possible symptoms of endometriosis? Then feel free to download the Endo-App and learn more about the condition and your options.

References

  1. Dietrich, Klaus: Gynecology and Obstetrics (Springer Textbook) 2nd edition, Springer Verlag.
  2. What is endometriosis? – Endometriosis Association Germany e.V. (endometriose-vereinigung.de)
  3. Prof. Dr. med. Marc Possover: Endometriosis of the sciatic nerve and sacral roots
  4. Ferries-Rowe E, Corey E, Archer JS. Primary dysmenorrhea: diagnosis and therapy. Obstet Gynecol. 2020 Nov;136(5):1047-1058. doi: 10.1097/AOG.00000000004096. PMID: 33030880.
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Dipl.-Ges.oec. Jennifer Ann Steinort
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