• Conditions InDepth: Endometriosis

    Endometriosis is a problem with the lining of the uterus (womb). The lining is called the endometrium. Normally, when you have your menstrual period every month, the lining will come out in the menstrual flow through the vagina.
    Endometrial tissue is normally found only inside of the uterine cavity. However, endometriosis refers to the presence of the endometrial tissue outside of the uterus. The most common sites include: the ovaries; the outside surface of the uterus; the fallopian tubes; ligaments of the pelvis; and the spaces between the rectum, bladder, and uterus. Less commonly the rectum, bladder, intestine, and appendix may be involved. Rarely, deposits (or implants) of endometrial tissue may be found in the lung, arm, thigh, and skin far away from the reproductive tract.
    Endometrial Lesions
    IMAGE
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
    This misplaced endometrial tissue responds to the monthly cycles of reproductive hormones. It swells, breaks down, bleeds, and causes an inflammatory reaction. Whereas during the normal menstrual flow the blood exits through the vagina, there is no exit when this tissue is in other locations outside of the uterus. The pain is increased during the latter part of the menstrual cycle and the beginning of menses.
    In the United States, endometriosis affects an estimated 10%-20% of women of reproductive age. Although endometriosis may occur at any age, it is most commonly seen between the ages of 25-40.
    The exact cause of endometriosis is unknown. Some possible considerations include:
    • Menstrual blood and endometrial tissue flows backward through the fallopian tubes instead of forward through the vagina and out of the body.
    • The immune system does not destroy this misplaced tissue in the body and allows the tissue to implant and develop in unusual places in the body. This causes endometriosis.
    • The lymph (glands) and/or blood systems carry endometrial cells from the uterus to other areas of the body.
    • Genetic and environmental susceptibility.
    Endometriosis is a major factor in female infertility. In fact, about 30%-45% of all women who are being treated for infertility have evidence of endometriosis.
    What are the risk factors for endometriosis?What are the symptoms of endometriosis?How is endometriosis diagnosed?What are the treatments for endometriosis?Are there screening tests for endometriosis?How can I reduce my risk of endometriosis?What questions should I ask my doctor?What is it like to live with endometriosis?Where can I get more information about endometriosis?

    References

    American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://www.aafp.org . Accessed March 2, 2006.

    The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The Management of Endometriosis . Practice bulletin No. 114; July 2010.

    The Endometriosis Association website. Available at: http://www.endometriosisassn.org/ . Accessed March 1, 2006.

    Endometriosis Research Center website. Available at: http://www.endocenter.org/ . Accessed March 1, 2006.

    Gabbe, SG et al. Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies . 5th ed. London: Churchill Livingstone; 2007.

    Griffith’s 5-Minute Clinical Consult . Lippincott Williams and Wilkins; 1999.

    Katz VL et al. Comprehensive Gynecology . 5th ed. St. Louis: Mosby; 2007.

    Kistner’s Gynecology and Women’s Health . 7th ed. Mosby-Year Book; 1999.

    National Institute of Child Health and Human Development website. Available at: http://www.nichd.nih.gov/ . Accessed March 1, 2006.

    National Library of Medicine website. Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/ . Accessed March 2, 2006.

    Rakel R. Textbook of Family Medicine 2007 . 7th ed. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier; 2009.

    Rakel RE, Bope ET. Conn's Current Therapy 2001 . 53rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: W.B. Saunders Company; 2009.

    Revision Information

  • Join WellZones today.

    Make a Change For LifeLearn more

    Wellmont LiveWell is creating a new tradition of wellness in the mountains by providing individuals with tools and encouragement to live healthier lifestyles.

  • HeartSHAPE Spotlight

    At risk for a heart attack? Learn more

    Fight heart disease early and prevent heart attacks with HeartSHAPE® - a painless, non-invasive test that takes pictures of your heart to scan for early-stage coronary disease.

  • Calories and Energy Needs

    Calorie NeedsLearn more

    How many calories do you need to eat each day to maintain your weight and fuel your physical activity? Enter a few of your stats into this calculator to find out.

  • Ideal Body Weight

    Ideal Body WeightLearn more

    Using body mass index as a reference, this calculator determines your ideal body weight range. All you need to do is enter your height.

  • Body Mass Index

    Body Mass IndexLearn more

    This tool considers your height and weight to assess your weight status.


  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.