Healthcare professionals sometimes prescribe gabapentin to help reduce endometriosis-related pain and discomfort. Although it can offer some relief, it’s not a cure for endometriosis.

Severe pelvic pain is one of the most common symptoms of endometriosis. One option to ease discomfort is gabapentin, an anticonvulsant drug primarily used to manage seizures and epilepsy.

While gabapentin is not specifically approved to treat endometriosis, some healthcare professionals may use it off-label to help manage pain when other treatments have proven ineffective.

Initially designed for treating epilepsy, early research on gabapentin primarily focused on its effectiveness in managing epilepsy and neuropathic pain.

Although there’s some research supporting the efficacy of gabapentin in treating some conditions and symptoms, there isn’t a lot of research indicating its effectiveness for endometriosis-related pain and chronic pelvic pain.

A 2021 systematic review and pilot meta-analysis suggests gabapentin may significantly lower pain after 3 and 6 months of treatment compared to a control group.

Gabapentin use was linked to an increased likelihood of experiencing dizziness and drowsiness. But the overall side effects were similar to those of the control group. More research is necessary to confirm its long-term effects and safety.

A 2022 systematic review and meta-analysis examined the impact of gabapentin in reducing chronic pelvic pain among women with no specific diagnosis, such as endometriosis.

Results showed that compared to a placebo, gabapentin may effectively reduce pain, especially during the initial 3 months of treatment. But more research is necessary to understand its analgesic effects beyond 3 months.

Research from 2022 recommends gabapentin for intense burning pain, which may have a neuropathic origin.

Some healthcare professionals prescribe gabapentin off-label for certain conditions, including endometriosis-related pain, when standard treatments are ineffective or poorly tolerated.

Gabapentin works by affecting certain chemicals in the brain and nerves. It also has a calming effect on nerve pain signals.

Potential benefits of gabapentin include improvements in sleep, mood, and quality of life.

Gabapentin can cause digestive upset, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation.

Other side effects include:

  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • visual disturbances
  • mood changes
  • urinary changes
  • varied types of pain
  • changes in skin condition
  • shortness of breath
  • verbal difficulties
  • jerky movements
  • coordination difficulty

Rare side effects include:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • suicidal thoughts
  • swelling, particularly in the hands, ankles, and feet

While allergic reactions to gabapentin are uncommon, they are possible and may include a rash, itching, swelling, severe dizziness, and difficulty breathing.

Due to its high risk of causing dizziness and drowsiness, it’s advisable to avoid gabapentin if you have a major neurologic condition.

Gabapentin is one approach for managing endometriosis-related pain and discomfort. Your healthcare professional will consider your needs and medical history to determine the most suitable treatment plan.

If you experience any unusual or severe side effects while taking gabapentin, contact your healthcare professional immediately.