Endometriosis is a condition where tissue that should only grow inside the uterus, grows on other parts of the body. Each month the endometriosis tissue bleeds and can result in inflammation and scarring that can distort the anatomy and cause internal organs to stick together. Endometriosis usually affects the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus but other areas of the body can also be affected.
The main symptoms are chronic pelvic pain, heavy bleeding including blood clots, irregular bleeding, pain during sex and can cause problems with fertility. Some women with endometriosis also experience other conditions such as anemia, mood disorders, IBS, fibromyalgia and internal cystitis.
Endometriosis affects approximately 176 million women in the world, or approximately 10% of all women in their reproductive years. It can have significant social and psychological impacts on the sufferer and those close to her.
There is currently no cure for endometriosis, only management of the disease and it is not known what causes it. Usually testing for endometriosis is done initially via ultrasound but the most definitive way of diagnosis is with an experienced gynecologist performing a laparoscopy.
For more detailed information and the latest news on research, head to endometriosis.org