Endometriosis is a disorder in which tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside the uterus. With endometriosis, the tissue can be found on the ovaries, fallopian tubes or the intestines. The most common symptoms are pain and menstrual irregularities.
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosisoccurs when cells that are like the cells that line the inside of your uterus grow outside of your uterus. These cells form clumps of tissue called implants. They usually grow on the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, the outer wall of the uterus, the intestines, or other organs in the belly. In rare cases, they spread to areas beyond the belly.
What are the symptoms?
Endometriosis usually isn't dangerous. But it can cause pain and other problems. The most common symptoms are pain, bleeding, and trouble getting pregnant.
You may have pain in your lower belly, rectum or vagina, or lower back. And you may have heavy periods, bleeding between periods, bleeding after sex, or blood in your urine or stool.
Symptoms often are most severe before and during your menstrual period.
What causes it?
Experts aren't sure what causes endometriosis. Problems with reproductive organs may cause endometrial cells to go up through the fallopian tubes and into the belly. And your immune system may not kill these cells outside the uterus like it should.
How is it diagnosed?
Your doctor will ask questions about your symptoms, periods, past health, and family medical history. You may also have a pelvic exam. And you may have imaging tests, such as a pelvic ultrasound or MRI. But to find out for sure if you have endometriosis, a surgery called laparoscopy is often used.
How is endometriosis treated?
Treatment choices depend on whether you want to control pain or you want to get pregnant.
For pain and bleeding, you can try medicines or have surgery to remove the endometrial tissue and scar tissue. If you want to get pregnant, you may need surgery to remove the endometrial tissue.