Endometriosis implants are most commonly found on the ovaries, the Fallopian tubes, outer surfaces of the uterus or intestines, and on the surface lining of the pelvic cavity. They also can be found in the vagina, cervix, and bladder. Endometriosis may not produce any symptoms, but when it does the most common symptom is pelvic pain that worsens just prior to menstruation and improves at the end of the menstrual period. Other symptoms of endometriosis include pain during sex, pain with pelvic examinations, cramping or pain during bowel movements or urination, and infertility.
Treatment of endometriosis can be with medication or surgery.Read more: Endometriosis Article
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Endometriosis Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ
Endometriosis is a common gynecological condition. Take this quiz to learn what happens when a woman has endometriosis as well as...
Picture of Vagina
The vagina is an elastic, muscular canal with a soft, flexible lining that provides lubrication and sensation. See a picture of...
Pelvic Pain: What's Causing Your Pelvic Pain?
There are many causes of pelvic pain in women including cysts, PMS, appendicitis, and bladder infections. Pelvic pain has...
What Is Endometriosis? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment
What is endometriosis? Endometriosis is an abnormal growth of endometrial cells found in the uterus. Not to be confused with...
Related Disease Conditions
Lower Back Pain
There are many causes of back pain. Pain in the low back can relate to the bony lumbar spine, discs between the vertebrae, ligaments around the spine and discs, spinal cord and nerves, muscles of the low back, internal organs of the pelvis and abdomen, and the skin covering the lumbar area.
Pregnancy Planning (Tips)
Pregnancy planning is an important step in preparation for starting or expanding a family. Planning for a pregnancy includes taking prenatal vitamins, eating healthy for you and your baby, disease prevention (for both parents and baby) to prevent birth defects and infections, avoiding certain medications that may be harmful to your baby, how much weight gain is healthy exercise safety and pregnancy, travel during pregnancy.
Though uterine cancer's cause is unknown, there are many factors that will put a woman at risk, including being over age 50, having endometrial hyperplasia, using hormone replacement therapy, obesity, using tamoxifen, being Caucasian, and/or having colorectal cancer. Symptoms and signs of cancer of the uterus (endometrial cancer) include abnormal vaginal bleeding, painful urination, painful intercourse, and pelvic pain. Treatment depends on staging and may include radiation therapy or hormone therapy.
What Causes Abdominal Pain?
Abdominal pain can have many causes that range from mild to severe. Some of these causes include bloating, gas, colitis, endometriosis, food poisoning, GERD, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), ovarian cysts, abdominal adhesions, diverticulitis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, gallbladder disease, liver disease, and cancers. Signs and symptoms of the more serious causes include dehydration, bloody or black tarry stools, severe abdominal pain, pain with no urination or painful urination. Treatment for abdominal pain depends upon the cause.
Menstrual cramps (pain in the belly and pelvic area) are experienced by women as a result of menses. Menstrual cramps are not the same as premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Menstrual cramps are common, and may be accompanied by headache, nausea, vomiting, constipation, or diarrhea. Severity of menstrual cramp pain varies from woman to woman. Treatment includes OTC or prescription pain relief medication.
Menstrual Cramps and Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) Medication Guide
Menstrual cramps and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms include abdominal cramping, bloating, a feeling of fullness, abdominal pain, mood swings, anxiety and more. Treatment for menstrual cramps and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms include regular sleep, exercise, smoking cessation, diet changes, and OTC or prescription medication depending on the severity of the condition.
Normal vaginal bleeding (menorrhea) occurs through the process of menstruation. Abnormal vaginal bleeding in women who are ovulating regularly most commonly involves excessive, frequent, irregular, or decreased bleeding. Causes of abnormal may arise from a variety of conditions that may include, uterine fibroids, IUDs, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, lupus, STDs, pelvic inflammatory disease, emotional stress, anorexia nervosa, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), cancers, early pregnancy.
Infertility is the diminished ability to conceive a child. Infertility can be a problem with both men and women. Infertility in men can be caused by medical conditions, unhealthy habits, and toxins from the environment. Infertility in women can be caused by problems with ovarian function, the Fallopian tubes, or the physical characteristics of the uterus. Methods of conceiving for couples that cannot conceive include intrauterine inseminations (IUIs) or in vitro fertilization (IVF), specific drugs, assisted reproductive technology (ART), surgery, and gestational carrier.
Sexual Problems (Sex) in Women
Sexual dysfunction refers to a problem that arises during any phase of the sexual response cycle, preventing an individual or couple from experiencing sexual satisfaction. Physical, medical, and psychological conditions may affect sexual functioning, resulting in inhibited sexual desire, inability to become aroused, lack of orgasm, and painful intercourse. Treating the underlying physical and psychological problems usually resolves most female sexual problems.
Getting Pregnant (Tips for Trying to Conceive)
Trying to get conceive, or become pregnant can be challenging, frustrating, and an emotional rollercoaster for some couples. A couple can chart their progress, which may ultimately lead to a successful healthy pregnancy, or, when necessary, lead to discussions with a fertility specialist. If you're a woman, be aware of your menstrual cycle, and you can track when you are fertile during the month using the: Basal body temperature method Calendar method Ovulation method (cervical mucus) About 10% of women in the US have problems getting pregnant, or carrying a pregnancy full term. Both men and women can have fertility problems. In fact, men and women each contribute about 1/3 when it comes to fertility problems. The other 1/3 are caused by a mixture of problems with both men and women or other problems that aren't identifiable.
Menstruation (Menstrual Cycle)
Menstruation (menstrual cycle) is also referred to as a "period." When a woman menstruates, the lining of the uterus is shed. This shedding of the uterine linking is the menstrual blood flow. The average menstrual cycle is 28 days. There can be problems with a woman's period, including heavy bleeding, pain, or skipped periods. Causes of these problems may be amenorrhea (lack of a period), menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea), or abnormal vaginal or uterine bleeding. There are a variety of situations in which a girl or woman should see a doctor about her menstrual cycle.
Hot flashes (or flushing) is the most common symptom experienced by a woman prior to and during the early stages of menopause, and often is described as the feeling of warmth that spreads over the body, often starting at the head accompanied by sweating. Symptoms of hot flashes include flushing, excessive sweating, anxiety, and palpitations.
Pelvic Pain (in Women and Men)
Pelvic pain is described as pain, usually in the lower pelvic area. Causes of acute and chronic pelvic pain in women include endometriosis, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, menstrual cramps, ovarian cysts, tumors, or fibroids, ovulation, and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or congestion syndrome, vulva pain, and rarely cancer. Pelvic pain during pregnancy may be caused by miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy (tubal pregnancy), preterm or premature labor, and placental abruption. Causes of pelvic pain in men include prostate problems, testicular pain, and groin pain. Causes of pelvic pain in men and women include kidney stones, appendicitis, UTIs, IBD, and STDs. Signs and symptoms associated with pelvic pain depend on the cause, but man include pain during or after sexual intercourse, abdominal pain, distension, and tenderness, diarrhea, constipation, vaginal discharge or bleeding, blood, pus, in the urine, cloudy urine, blood in the stool, stool color changes, and low back pain. The cause of pelvic pain is diagnosed by a physical exam, blood tests, and imaging procedures. Treatment for pelvic pain depends on the cause.
Spotting vs. Period
Menstruation (a female's "period") occurs due to the shedding of the lining of the uterus. Menstrual bleeding lasts about three to five days, and the bleeding is heavy the first couple of days and then it lessens. Spotting is vaginal bleeding between periods.
Cramps but No Period
Having cramps but no period can occur because of conditions other than your monthly menstrual cycle. They may feel like period cramps of the lower abdomen when you are not due for your period and produce no blood. These 12 diseases and conditions are examples of what can cause abdominal cramping when not on period.
What Are the Early Signs of Endometriosis?
The endometrium is the inner lining of the uterus, which changes throughout the menstrual cycle, shedding during menstrual periods. Endometriosis is the presence of normal endometrial tissue abnormally implanted in locations other than the inner wall of the uterus. This causes pain and other symptoms that may include infertility.
How Do I Know If I Have Endometriosis?
Approximately, one-third of the women with endometriosis remain asymptomatic. Severe pain during menses may be the first sign of endometriosis. Other symptoms that you may experience include heavy periods, low back pain, cramps, pain during intercourse and other symptoms.
What Is Laparoscopy in Gynecology?
Laparoscopy in gynecology (gynecological laparoscopy) is a less invasive alternative to open surgery. The procedure involves using a laparoscope (a long, thin tube with a light connected to a camera) to look inside the pelvic area to diagnose gynecological disorders or to perform surgery to treat gynecological conditions.
How Long Does a Hysteroscopy Take?
Hysteroscopy is a procedure performed by a gynecologist to inspect inside of the uterine cavity using a thin tube with a light and camera attached to it. Hysteroscopy can take anywhere between 5 to 30 minutes or longer if a surgical procedure is being performed at the same time. Surgical procedures to treat uterine pathologies can take between 30 minutes to 2 hours as well, depending on the procedure.
Local ResourcesFind a local Obstetrician-Gynecologist in your town
Treatment & Diagnosis
Medications & Supplements
- medroxyprogesterone - oral, Provera
- nafarelin acetate spray - nasal, Synarel
- ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin)
- naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprelan, Naprosyn)
- nafarelin (Synarel)
- Birth Control Pills (List of Oral Contraceptives and Side Effects)
- medroxyprogesterone (Depo-Provera)
- Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
- letrozole (Femara)
- leuprolide (Lupron, Eligard)
- clindamycin, oral (Cleocin)
- anastrozole (Arimidex)
- piperacillin and tazobactam (Zosyn)
- norethindrone (Nor QD, Nora-BE, Ortho Micronor)
- progesterone - intramuscular
- danazol - oral, Danocrine
- norgestrel (contraceptive) - oral, Ovrette
- norethindrone (Aygestin)
- Side Effects of Aygestin (norethindrone)
- Side Effects of Synarel (nafarelin)
- Side Effects of Lupron (leuprolide)
- Orilissa (elagolix)
Prevention & Wellness
- Endometriosis Risk Can Be Predicted in Young Girls: Study
- Suicidal Thoughts Common With Endometriosis, Reveals Major Survey
- Is Your Pelvic Pain a Sign of Endometriosis?
- Health Tip: Treating Endometriosis
- Health Tip: Potential Risks of Hysterectomy
- FDA Approves New Drug for Endometriosis Pain
- Are You Ignoring Endometriosis?
- Breast-Feeding Linked to Lower Endometriosis Risk
- 'Menstrual Cycle in a Dish' Explores Intricacies of Female Body
- 'The Pill' May Raise Depression Risk
- Endometriosis Linked to Heart Disease in Study
- Are Women the Key to Unlocking Alzheimer's?
- Women's Pelvic Pain Often Unreported
- Female Hormone Disorder Linked to Numerous Health Conditions
- Exposure To Common Chemical May Raise Risk of Preemie Delivery: Study
- Two Pesticides Tied to Higher Risk of Gynecological Disorder
- Sharp Rise Seen in Robotically Assisted Hysterectomies
- Health Tip: Am I at Risk for Endometriosis?
- Low-Cal Diets Kept Monkeys Healthier, But Didn't Lengthen Lives
- Under Right Conditions, Fertility Treatment Can Equal Natural Conception Rates: Study
- Early Study Hints at Link Between Certain Sunscreens, Endometriosis
- Sunscreen Ingredient Linked to Endometriosis
- Is Combining Hysterectomy and a Tummy Tuck Safe?
- Endometriosis Could Raise Risk of 3 Ovarian Cancers
- Caffeine May Alter Women's Estrogen Levels
- Endometriosis Tied to Higher Risk of Crohn's, Colitis
- Health Tip: Does My Pain Mean Endometriosis?
- Health Tip: Risk Factors for Ectopic Pregnancy
- Antibody Could Help Predict Ovarian Cancer