POTS and endometriosis primarily affect the same demographic. Although preliminary research suggests there may be a connection, further study is needed to understand the potential relationship.
“POTS mainly concerns problems with heart rate and blood pressure control, whereas endometriosis primarily involves symptoms related to the reproductive system and pelvic area,” said family medicine specialist Joel P. Mascaro, DO, chief medical officer at DrNewMed Health & Wellness in Scottdale, Arizona.
In other words, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) and endometriosis are two totally different conditions — although they share a few similarities worth noting.
Both conditions typically affect people assigned female at birth who are of reproductive age. POTS, for example,
Beyond that, both conditions may be especially noticeable during menstruation. A small 2022 review found that, of 81 participants who received a confirmed POTS diagnosis, 34 reported worsening POTS symptoms during menstruation.
With endometriosis, the abnormal tissues outside the uterus get trapped and build up in your body, explains pelvic floor specialist Kasia Gondek, DPT, at Femina Physical Therapy in Sherman Oaks, California.
This can lead to scarring, cysts, and systemic inflammation that causes a host of painful symptoms, particularly during menstruation, she says.
“Since some forms of POTS are linked with inflammation, it’s possible that POTS could be more likely to develop in people with endometriosis,” adds Gondek.
A small study
“However, that study was questionnaire-based and hasn’t been repeated,” notes family medicine physician Nisarg Patel at Nisha Women’s Hospital and IVF Centre in Ahmedabad, India.
The format of the study required participants to receive a prior diagnosis of both conditions, and both conditions are notoriously difficult to diagnose, he says.
Although this could suggest that people with endometriosis are more likely to experience POTS, the review didn’t specify the type of autonomic dysfunction or specifically look at the relationship between POTS and endometriosis.
“At this time, based on the incredibly limited research available, there is no definitive correlation or connection between POTS and endometriosis,” said Gondek.
POTS and endometriosis are idiopathic conditions, which means that they have no known cause. But certain factors can increase your overall risk.
“Some of these risk factors overlap between endometriosis and POTS, such as family history, immune system disorders, hormonal changes, and pelvic infections or surgeries,” said Patel.
Generally speaking, you may be
- a short menstrual cycle (under 27 days)
- a heavy menstrual period (more than 7 days)
- difficulty getting pregnant
high estrogen levels
- menstruation before 11 years old
You may be
- a history of viral infections or other conditions that trigger an inflammatory response
- a recent pregnancy
- a recent surgery
There’s no cure for endometriosis or POTS. But there are treatment options available that can help you manage symptoms and improve your quality of life, says Patel.
Hormonal therapies such as birth control pills and injections can help suppress menstruation and lower endometriosis pain during menstruation, says Patel.
“These medications may also help regulate blood pressure and heart rate in some people with POTS,” he said.
“Both conditions can be improved through stress management techniques like relaxation, cognitive behavioral therapy, maintaining a regular sleep schedule, and avoiding caffeine or alcohol,” he adds.
But some of these treatments are fairly distinct.
For example, some people with endometriosis may undergo certain surgical procedures — such as a hysterectomy — to remove some of the lesions or organ(s) currently affected by the disease.
“Surgery is rarely used for POTS unless there’s an underlying structural or functional problem that needs to be corrected,” said Patel.
Similarly, compression stockings or abdominal binders can be useful for people with POTS, as they help prevent blood from pooling in the lower extremities or abdomen when standing up. He says this can help reduce dizziness, fainting, and low blood pressure.
“Compression garments are not usually needed for endometriosis unless there’s swelling or edema in the legs or abdomen,” he said.
Your outlook depends on several unique factors, including your overall medical history, the severity of each condition, and your current treatment plan.
“Some people with endometriosis and POTS may experience mild or manageable symptoms that do not interfere with their personal or professional goal,” said Patel.
“Some people with both or just one or the other may experience severe or debilitating symptoms that require frequent medical attention and limit their physical or social activities.”
POTS and endometriosis are two different conditions, but they can coexist.
While some data suggest that you may be more likely to develop one condition if you have the other, more research is needed before a conclusive connection can be drawn.
Gabrielle Kassel (she/her) is a queer sex educator and wellness journalist who is committed to helping people feel the best they can in their bodies. In addition to Healthline, her work has appeared in publications such as Shape, Cosmopolitan, Well+Good, Health, Self, Women’s Health, Greatist, and more! In her free time, Gabrielle can be found coaching CrossFit, reviewing pleasure products, hiking with her border collie, or recording episodes of the podcast she co-hosts called Bad In Bed. Follow her on Instagram @Gabriellekassel.