Endometriosis is a (sometimes painful) gynecological disorder where the type of tissue that lines the inside wall of a uterus (the endometrium, the tissue which during pregnancy becomes the placenta) grows outside the uterus. Endometriosis can involve the ovaries, fallopian tubes, the bladder, and the pelvis.
Endometriosis behaves like normal endometrial tissue, that is, it gets volume, breaks down and bleeds with menstrual cycles. Nevertheless, it has no option to exit the body normally. It can also become a cause of cysts, scar tissue and adhesions.
One of the primary symptoms of endometriosis is pelvic pain, usually associated with menstrual periods. In general, those who suffer from endometriosis experience pain (or more pain) during their menstruation period.
Other common signs and symptoms of endometriosis may be lower back and abdominal pain, pain during or after sexual intercourse, pain with bowel movements or urination, excessive bleeding, infertility, but also fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, bloating or nausea, especially during menstrual periods.
There’s a strong association between endometriosis and infertility, because of the development of fallopian tubes scar tissue and adhesions and ovarian cysts, which can inhibit normal ovarian activity and egg growth. Additionally, an abnormal inner lining of the uterus can interfere with implantation of an embryo.
Although endometriosis has no actual cure, the symptoms can be treated. Treatments can be divided into treatments for pain and treatments to remove excessive tissue. Typical procedures consist of surgery, (pain) medication, hormone therapy, and/or massage therapy.