Endometriosis is a disorder of the female reproductive system characterized by an abnormal growth of endometrial tissue (that normally lines the inside of the uterus) at places other than the uterine cavity resulting in pain and infertility. The most common areas where this endometrial tissue is found are the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterosacral ligaments, rectovaginal septum, vagina, or cervix. It can rarely be found at laparotomy scars, nasal mucosa, lung, diaphragm, breast, etc. This tissue responds to cyclical activation by female sex hormones and can bleed, resulting in inflammation, scarring, and fibrosis of nearby organs. The cause of the disease is still unknown. However, many theories have been postulated. The disease itself has no cure but is managed by medicines and surgical procedures when needed.
The exact cause of endometriosis is not well known. Some theories suggest the backflow of endometrial tissue in the pelvis during the menstrual period that gets itself attached to the ovaries or ligaments and grows. Some also propose the possibility of stem cell migration and growth of the tissue at abnormal places.
6-10% of US women have reported the presence of endometriosis. Endometriosis occurs most commonly in women of reproductive age (25-30 years). Symptoms usually resolve after menopause.
One-third of women having endometriosis do not show any symptoms. Also, there is a disparity of symptoms with relation to the presence of structural lesions. Some women with severe lesions show minimal symptoms, while others have severe debilitating symptoms even with small lesions. Some common symptoms are described below;
Many a time, endometriosis is not diagnosed well. Many women have to suffer symptoms for a long duration before a definite diagnosis is made by some physician. Your health care provider will begin with a detailed medical history and physical examination, including a pelvic exam. The following investigations may be advised.
Some of the diseases can present similar as endometriosis;
There is no permanent cure for endometriosis. Some medicines are used to control pain. The hormonal influence of the disorder has led to the use of hormonal medicines for the control of symptoms. However, medicines cannot restore fertility, and sometimes surgical intervention is needed. Commonly used medicines are;
In one-third of women, the symptoms resolve on their own without any intervention. Endometriosis is a progressive disease with an unpredictable extent and morbidity in remaining women. Medical therapy is usually effective in controlling pain, but not fertility, for which surgical therapies have been partly effective. However, 50% of women suffer a relapse of symptoms within 5 years of treatment with medicines.
Endometriosis has no cure, nor are there ways to prevent its occurrence. However, some of the people have reported some relief of symptoms by adopting some lifestyle changes, which are:
Our clinical experts continually monitor the health and medical content posted on CURA4U, and we update our blogs and articles when new information becomes available. Last reviewed by Dr.Saad Zia on May 06, 2023.