Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissue that behaves like the cells lining the uterus (endometrium) grows in other areas of the body, causing pain, irregular bleeding, and possible infertility. The tissue growth (implant) typically in the pelvic area, outside of the uterus, on the ovaries, bowel, rectum, bladder, and the delicate lining of the pelvis. However, the implants can occur in other areas of the body, too.

The cause of endometriosis is unknown, but there are a number of theories. One theory is that the endometrial cells loosened during menstruation may " backup " through the Fallopian tubes into the pelvis. Once there, they implant and grow in the pelvic or abdominal cavities. This is called retrograde menstruation. This happens in many women, but there may be something different about the immune system in women who develop endometriosis compared to those who do not get the condition.

Endometriosis is a common problem . Sometimes , it may run in the family. Although endometriosis is typically diagnosed between ages 25-35 , the condition probably begins about the time that regular menstruation begins.

A woman who has a mother or sister with endometriosis is six times more likely to develop endometriosis than woman in the general population . Other possible risk factors include:

  • Starting menstruation at an early age.
  • Never having had children.
  • Frequent menstrual cycles.
  • Period that last 7 or more days.


  • Painful periods
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Pelvic or low back pain


  • Pelvic examination
  • Transvaginal ultrasound
  • Pelvic laparoscopy


  • Medication to control pain
  • Medications to stop the endometriosis from getting worse
  • Surgery to move the areas of endometriosis
  • Hysterectomy with removal of both ovaries


Endometriosis can lead to problems getting pregnant (infertility). Other complications include:

  • Chronic or long-term pelvic pain that interferes with social and work activities.
  • Large cysts in the pelvis (called endometriomas) that may break open rupture.