Also known as: endometriosis interna, adenomyosis

What is endometriosis?

The tissue that normally lines a woman's uterus is called the endometrium and this tissue layer is what is shed with every menstruation. When this lining layer is found and grows outside of the uterus (like the ovaries, Fallopian tubes or in the pelvis) the condition is called endometriosis.

If untreated many women may become infertile.

What causes endometriosis?

At present the exact causes of endometriosis is unknown. Several theories exist which include a genetic or hereditary role, endometrial cells traveling back up the Fallopian tubes from the uterus to the ovaries or into the pelvis, some association with immune system disorders and others.

What are the symptoms of endometriosis?

As the endometrial tissue acts in the same way as the uterine tissue will, bleeding at the time of menstruation occurs. There may be no symptoms, or when symptoms are present they may include abdominal cramps or back pain, painful bowel movements or urination especially during menstruation, painful sex and difficulty becoming pregnant. Diarrhea, constipation, bloating, nausea and fatigue may be other symptoms of endometriosis.

What are endometriosis care options?

As there is at present no cure for endometriosis, medications to manage symptoms or surgery are the usual treatments.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: February 01, 2021 04:03 PM

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