Endometriosis

Endometriosis is the growth of endometrial tissue (the tissue that normally lines the uterus) in a location outside of the uterus. This tissue develops into lesions that respond to the menstrual cycle in the same way that the tissue of the uterine lining does: each month it builds up, breaks down, and sheds. While menstrual blood flows from the uterus and out of the body through the vagina, the blood and tissue shed from endometrial growths has no way of exiting the body. This results in internal bleeding, breakdown of the blood and tissue from the lesions, and inflammation.

Symptoms include:

  • Very painful menstrual cramps
  • Pain with periods that gets worse over time
  • Chronic pain in the lower back and pelvis
  • Pain during or after sex
  • Intestinal pain
  • Painful bowel movements or painful urination during menstrual periods
  • Heavy and/or long menstrual periods
  • Spotting or bleeding between periods
  • Infertility
  • Fatigue

Although these symptoms may be a sign of endometriosis, they could also be signs of other conditions. If you experience any of these symptoms, see your doctor.

While there is no cure for endometriosis, there are many treatment options, including pain medication, hormone therapy, and surgery. Talk with your physician about what option is best for you. Click on the links in the sidebar for more information.