Medically Reviewed by J. Michael Davidson, MD
When the tissue lining of a woman’s uterus begins to grow where it shouldn’t, this endometriosis can cause a list of problems. McLeod Gynecologist J. Michael Davidson, MD, offers this overview:
Here’s a summary of Dr. Davidson’s comments:
Endometriosis is a condition where tissue that is similar to the endometrium or lining of the uterus, grows in a different place, usually on the surface of the uterus or the ovaries. When it does, it can cause discomfort, pain or even infertility. It can be pretty disruptive for a patient. People who are more likely to have endometriosis are women with a family history of it or who delay childbearing.
Some patients who have endometriosis don’t have any symptoms. However, pain and cramping with menstrual cycles is the most common symptom. There are patients who also have bladder symptoms or bowel symptoms. Endometriosis can mimic those conditions.
Endometriosis varies on whether you include patients with endometriosis who need treatment or endometriosis that just occurs and is an incidental finding. Of the patients who need treatment, some sources estimate that as many as 10 percent of women may have endometriosis.
There are no lifestyle factors that will contribute to endometriosis that you can adjust or change. Diagnosis is very difficult. The most reliable way to know that someone has endometriosis is by doing a surgical procedure called a laparoscopy, where you look inside the abdomen area to make sure that the tissue doesn’t appear normal and has endometriosis present.
Treatment options for endometriosis depend on the diagnosis. Sometimes you may presumptively treat endometriosis without being absolutely sure the patient has it. Treatment can include birth control pills or medications that stop the menstrual cycle. If you’re going to treat endometriosis that is problematic and hasn’t responded to medications, then the best treatment is surgery.