- In a nutshell: Endometriosis is normal tissue growing in an abnormal place. Endometriosis results when endometrium tissue, which makes up the lining of the uterus, is found outside the uterus.
- If you have irregular periods and cramping associated with menstruation that doesn’t respond to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory pain medications (available over-the-counter as Ibuprofen, Motrin, Advil, or Aleve) that interferes with your activities or sleep, you should suspect endometriosis and talk with your Ob/Gyn about this possibility. If she blows you off without doing a thorough work up, consider going to a doctor that specializes in endometriosis. See Creating a Family’s endometriosis page for other common symptoms and for suggestions on how to find a doctor that specializes in endometriosis.
- 15 % of woman will have endometriosis severe enough to warrant a diagnosis.
- The cause of endometriosis is still unknown.
- Not everyone with endometriosis will be infertile.
- The most common staging/rating system for endometriosis (Stage I-IV) is designed to help doctors decide on treatment options; therefore, it is not necessarily predictive of the symptoms you may experience, including pain and infertility. In other words, a Stage II diagnosis does not necessarily mean that you will have a greater chance of being infertile than a person with a Stage I diagnosis or that you will have more pain than a Stage I.
- There is no consensus on the best way to treat endometriosis since treatment depends on the symptoms and the woman’s conception plans. You must get involved in deciding on the best treatment for you.
- There is much debate in the medical community about the wisdom of performing laparoscopic surgery to aid in early detection in the absence of significant symptoms.
- Pregnancy will not cure endometriosis. Symptoms may abate during pregnancy, but most women will have their symptoms return after pregnancy, especially if they have a more severe case of endometriosis.
- Woman with endometriosis have a slightly increased risk of cancers of the ovaries, breast, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, endocrine system and brain.
For more detailed information on endometriosis:
- Go to Creating a Family’s Endometriosis page
- Listen to the one hour Creating a Family radio show on the latest developments in endometriosis.
- Watch the Creating a Family video on endometriosis.
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