What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis means that the tissues of the uterus are growing outside the uterus. Every month, a woman's uterine lining sheds during her period if she's not pregnant. With endometriosis, the displaced tissue "continues to act as it normally would — it thickens, breaks down and bleeds with each menstrual cycle," according to the Mayo Clinic.
Endometriosis is typically seen during the reproductive years; it has been estimated that endometriosis occurs in roughly 6–10% of women. Symptoms may depend on the site of active endometriosis. Its main but not universal symptom is pelvic pain in various manifestations. Endometriosis is a common finding in women with infertility.
Facts about Endometriosis
Endo doesn't discriminate
Endometriosis affects an estimated 1 in 10 women during their reproductive years (ie. usually between the ages of 15 to 49), which is approximately 176 million women in the world.
It doesn't just grow in the pelvis
Most of the time, this extra tissue grows in the pelvis. But researchers have found that in rare cases, it can grow in remote sites on the body. There have been cases where endometrial tissue has been found in the nose, the lungs, and even on the arms and thighs.
You are not alone
Endometriosis affects an estimated 1 in 10 women during their reproductive years (ie. usually between the ages of 15 to 49), which is approximately 176 million women in the world
There is no cure
However, endometriosis can start as early as a girl’s first period and the menopause may not resolve the symptoms of endometriosis, especially if the woman has scar tissue or adhesions from the disease and/or surgery.
No one knows why
No one knows exactly what causes endometriosis, but doctors have some theories:
Retrograde menstrual flow: During a period, when a woman is shedding her uterine lining, some of that tissue can flow through her fallopian tubes and into her pelvis, which researchers think may cause endometriosis. But doctors have also found that the rate of retrograde menstruation is about the same in women with and without endometriosis, so they think additional factors spur on the disorder in some.
Genes: The disorder runs in families, so doctors believe there's a genetic component. If a woman's mom or sister had endometriosis, she's believed to be at a higher risk.
Immune system dysfunction: Problems with the immune system can hamper a woman's ability to clear her menstrual debris, leading to endometriosis.
Environmental factors: There's some evidence to suggest environmental exposures to certain chemicals may contribute to one's risk of developing endometriosis.