Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus is also found elsewhere in the body, mainly in the abdominal cavity.
Endometriosis typically affects women during their menstruating years also known as their reproductive years. These are typically the years between the onset of menstruation until menopause. It is estimated that 176 million women across the world has endometriosis this is one in ten women during the reproductive years (10%).
The most common symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain. The pain is often with menstruation, during ovulation, and/or in connection with sexual intercourse. However a woman with endometriosis may also experience pain at other times during her monthly cycle. Another symptoms is infertility, and some women with endometriosis also experience severe fatigue.
The only way to diagnose endometriosis for sure is during a laparoscopy, which is a small surgical procedure. However, many physicians are able to diagnose endometriosis based on a woman’s symptoms and start treatment on that basis.
No. But it can be treated, and for many women it is possible to manage their symptoms through a combination of long term treatments.
No. Endometriosis cannot be transferred from one human being to another. The cause of endometriosis is not yet known, but it is not an infectious disease.
The cause of endometriosis is not yet known, but research does show that first-degree relatives of women with this disease have a seven-fold risk of developing endometriosis.
It is estimated that 30-40% of women with endometriosis may have difficulties in becoming pregnant. This, however, means that 60-70% will have no problems. If fertility is a great wish, then please discuss your symptoms with your gynaecologist so that together you can develop the best treatment plan for you.
Some women chose, as a last resort, to have a hysterectomy. However, this does not guarantee complete pain relief. If you opt for a hysterectomy it is important that all the endometriosis is removed at the same time.
No. Some women find that their pain symptoms are reduced during pregnancy, but this is not the case for everyone. In most cases, endometriosis will return after giving birth and stopping breast feeding.
No. Endometriosis cysts are sometimes referred to as benign tumours, because they may behave similarly to cancer, but endometriosis is not the same disease. In very rare cases, endometriotic implants has lead to cancer, but this is very very rare. Some research suggests that some women with endometriosis may be at a slightly higher risk of developing certain cancers but this is still controversial.