Endometriosis occurs when tissue (endometrium) normally
found lining the uterus grows outside, in the pelvic cavity or elsewhere. It
affects more than 10 percent of women, most in their 30s and 40s.
Pain, swelling, bleeding or spotting between periods, and difficulty getting pregnant may all occur due to the displaced endometrium. These endometriosis growths (endometrium) bleed every month in the same way your uterine lining does. This causes swelling and pain because the tissue is in an area where it cannot easily leave your body.
For women with endometriosis, adhesions and scar tissue may also form causing organs to grow together. They may bind an ovary to the side of the pelvic wall or extend between the bladder and the uterus.
This condition can affect your quality of life, impact relationships and make getting pregnant difficult. At The Christ Hospital Health Network, our expert physicians and specialists have the experience and skill to diagnose and treat endometriosis so you can get back to enjoying life.
The exact cause of endometriosis isn't known, but it is thought to be a combination of factors such as:
Genetics—endometriosis has been shown to run in families
Immune system problems
Hormones—when endometriosis tissue grows outside of the uterus, it continues to respond to hormonal signals, specifically estrogen, from the ovaries telling it to grow
Displaced endometrial tissue—builds up and becomes trapped, causing inflammation, irritation and pain
gynecologist at The Christ Hospital Health Network will help you determine if endometriosis
is the cause of your pain, then guide you through treatment options.
Endometriosis risk factors
usually develops years after the start of your menstrual cycle. Several factors
may increase your risk of developing this condition include:
A short menstrual cycle (27 days or fewer)
Closed or blocked hymen
Mother, sister or aunt with the disease
Never having children
Periods lasting more than seven days
Starting periods at a young age
growths bleed every month in the same way your uterine lining does. This causes
swelling and pain because the tissue is in an area where it cannot easily leave
The symptoms of endometriosis vary. Some women have mild symptoms, while others experience moderate to severe symptoms. The primary symptoms of endometriosis are pain and infertility. Pain from endometriosis can be severe and may result in:
Chronic lower-back and pelvic pain
Pain during a bowel movement or urination
Pain during and after sex
When to see a doctor
you have mild pain during your period, watchful waiting through several
menstrual cycles and home treatment for mild pain may be all you need.
Make an appointment with your doctor if:
Pelvic pain interferes with your daily life and activities
You have blood in your stool or experience pain during bowel movements
You have difficulty becoming pregnant after trying for a year
You have pain during intercourse
You have pain or blood while urinating or can't control the flow of urine
Your periods become very painful
Do you think you might have endometriosis? Discuss
your concerns with your gynecologists or make an appointment with one of our endometriosis experts.
Do you have more questions about endometriosis but not yet ready to make an appointment with a doctor? Contact our ezCare Concierge nurse navigator, a free, confidential service designed to help you navigate the best next steps for you and your health.