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Endometriosis Information

  • Endometriosis is a common medical condition where the tissue lining the uterus (the endometrium, from endo, "inside", and metra, "womb") is found outside of the uterus, typically affecting other organs in the pelvis. The condition can lead to serious health problems, primarily pain and infertility. Endometriosis primarily develops in women of reproductive age...
  • A major symptom of endometriosis is pain, mostly in the lower abdomen, lower back, and pelvic area. The amount of pain a woman feels is not necessarily related to the extent of endometriosis. Some women will have little or no pain despite having extensive endometriosis affecting large areas or endometriosis with scarring. On the other hand, women may have severe pain even though they have only a few small areas of endometriosis.

    Endometriosis can affect any woman of reproductive age, from menarche (the first period) to menopause, regardless of her race, ethnicity, whether or not she has children or her socio-economic status. Most patients with endometriosis are in their 20s and 30s. Rarely, endometriosis persists after menopause; sometimes, hormones taken for menopausal symptoms may cause the symptoms of endometriosis to continue. In very rare cases, girls may have endometriosis before they even reach menarche.

    Current estimates place the number of women with endometriosis between 2 % and 10 % of women of reproductive age. About 30 % to 40 % of women with endometriosis are infertile, making it one of the leading causes of infertility. However, endometriosis-related infertility is often treated successfully with hormones and surgery. Some women do not find out that they have endometriosis until they have trouble getting pregnant. While the presence of extensive endometriosis distorts pelvic anatomy and thus explains infertility, the relationship between early or mild endometriosis and infertility is less clear. The relationship between endometriosis and infertility is an active area of research.

    Early endometriosis typically occurs on the surfaces of organs in the pelvic and intraabdominal areas. Health care providers may call areas of endometriosis by different names, such as implants, lesions, or nodules. Larger lesions may be seen within the ovaries as endometriomas or chocolate cysts (They are termed chocolate because they contain a thick brownish fluid, mostly old blood). Endometriosis may trigger inflammatory responses leading to scar formation and adhesions.

    Currently, there is no cure for endometriosis although in most patients menopause (natural or surgical) will abate the process. Nevertheless, a hysterectomy or removal of the ovaries will not guarantee that the endometriosis areas and/or the symptoms of endometriosis will not come back. However, endometriosis can be effectively managed in a large majority of patients. Conservative treatments usually try to address pain or infertility issues.

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View Top Endometriosis Answers at sharecare.com

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