What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue that looks and acts like the lining of the uterus grows in other areas of the body, such as on the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, the pelvic sidewall or even in the bladder or bowels. These can be called growths, tumors, legions, implants or nodules.

Who gets endometriosis?

It is estimated that 5 million women in the United States have endometriosis. It usually affects women who are menstruating, with the average age of 27.

What are the symptoms?

The most common symptom of endometriosis is pain. However, pain alone is not an indication of the extent of the disease. Other symptoms include:

  • Painful menstrual cramps
  • Periods that heavier and more painful over time
  • Painful bowel movements
  • Spotting between periods
  • Pain during or after sex
  • Infertility

How is it treated?

There is no cure for endometriosis. However, the symptoms can be treated successfully. Pain medication is often recommended for women with mild symptoms. Hormone treatment is used for women who do not want to become pregnant. This may include the use of birth control pills or progestin. For women who have extensive areas of endometriosis, their physician may recommend laparoscopic surgery to remove the tissue.