Endometriosis is a common and sometimes debilitating condition experienced by women of reproductive age. This disease causes chronic pelvic pain and is sometimes associated with infertility.

Endometriosis is the growth of tissue, similar to the kind that lines a woman’s uterus, elsewhere in her body. That ‘elsewhere’ is usually in the abdomen. This misplaced tissue responds to the menstrual cycle in the same way that the tissue lining the uterus does: each month the tissue builds up, breaks down and sheds. Menstrual blood from the uterus flows out of the body through the vagina; however, the blood and tissue from endometriosis has no way of leaving the body. This results in inflammation and sometimes scarring (adhesions), both of which can cause the painful symptoms of endometriosis and may contribute to difficulty getting pregnant.

Even though endometriosis has been researched extensively, it is a complex disease that can be challenging to diagnose and treat. Many symptoms of endometriosis – severe, painful menstrual cramps, painful intercourse, and gastrointestinal upsets such as diarrhea, constipation, and nausea – are similar to those for a wide variety of other conditions. As well, each woman with endometriosis will experience symptoms differently, depending on the location and extent of her endometriosis. This means that the combination of treatment options that work for one woman may not necessarily work for another. That’s why it may take years for a woman and her health care provider to identify the extent of her endometriosis and find an effective treatment.

The good news is that endometriosis is a condition that can be successfully treated and controlled. If you are experiencing pelvic pain, there are options designed to reduce, or even eliminate, your pain and help improve your quality of life. The first step is to see your health care provider soon.

Endometriosis affects up to…
1 in 10 women of reproductive age
5 in 10 women* who are experiencing infertility
5 in 10 women* with chronic pelvic pain
*statistics based on women who undergo laparoscopic assessment of infertility and pelvic pain