Endometriosis is a condition where uterine lining (endometrium) grows outside the uterus. This tissue is called an implant or lesion, and is usually found in the pelvic area. In rare cases, it can grow in other parts of the body. Although the lining normally sheds each month, implants stay in place and do not shed.
Endometriosis is usually diagnosed between ages 25 to 35, but can occur at any time during a woman’s reproductive years. Many women have no symptoms. However, endometrial implants can cause irregular bleeding, infertility and pain. Mild to severe pain is the most common symptom, which may include pain during periods, intercourse, and bowel movements, as well as pain in the lower back or abdomen.
Some non-surgical treatments for endometriosis include pain medicines, hormone therapy and/or lifestyle changes. Surgery for women who have endometriosis may include endometrial ablation (uterine lining is destroyed with extreme heat or cold), uterine artery embolization (uterine arteries are blocked to stop blood flow), endometriosis resection (removal of endometrial implants) and hysterectomy (removal of the uterus). For more details on common approaches to surgery for endometriosis, see the “Surgical Options” section that follows.