Sometimes tagged as “the most under diagnosed disease of women," endometriosis occurs when endometrial tissue, which normally lines the uterus, is found elsewhere in the body. This tissue starts to act just like normal uterine tissue. During menstruation the tissue starts to bleed and break down. As this happens, scar tissue starts to form, usually in the pelvic region. The scar tissue can then lead to potential problems with endometriosis and infertility.
Facts about endometriosis
Medical experts estimate that approximately 75 percent of women who have pelvic pain also suffer from endometriosis. In fact, endometriosis is the number one cause of pelvic pain, reproductive surgeries, and infertility in women. Endometriosis symptoms most commonly appear after age 25, but any female who menstruates is at risk.
Are you at risk?
Endometriosis symptoms usually affect women who have never had children and the disease has a strong genetic link. If one of your relatives has endometriosis, then you are six times more likely to have endometriosis, too.
Other risk factors for endometriosis include:
- Menstrual cycles that last less than 28 days
- Menstrual bleeding lasting more than 5 days
- Painful periods
- Congenital abnormality of the uterus
- Abnormally tight cervical opening
Treatment for endometriosis
While there is no endometriosis cure yet, there are medications and treatments for endometriosis pain and associated symptoms.
- Surgery to remove endometrial tissue and lesions is an effective treatment that boosts pregnancy rates for some women.
- Anti-inflammatory medications are used to treat the pain and inflammation with endometriosis.
- Treatment of endometriosis symptoms may also include hormonal therapy and alternative treatments.
See a fertility specialist to learn more about endometriosis diagnosis, symptoms and treatment. Treating endometriosis early is important, especially if you are trying to get pregnant.