- Symptoms and Signs
- Related Resources
What is 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.
The abnormally located endometrial tissue (endometrial implant) nevertheless responds to natural cyclic hormonal fluctuations in much the same way as the tissue located in the uterus. The result is, thickening, hormone secretion and cyclic sloughing of menstrual material. Thus, the symptoms of endometriosis depend on the cyclic production of menstrual hormones as well as where it has spread.
Typically, the abnormal sites of endometrium implants are in the pelvis:
- Fallopian tubes
- Soft tissue
More unusual sites include:
What are the symptoms and signs of endometriosis?
Almost a third of women with endometriosis do not have any symptoms. When symptoms are present, they depend on the site where endometrial implant has occurred. A common complaint is pain in the pelvic region, which varies with the menstrual cycle. The main symptoms include:
- Pain during menstrual periods (dysmenorrhea)
- Heavy or irregular bleeding
- Pain in the pelvic region
- Lower abdominal or back pain
- Pain or discomfort during intercourse (dyspareunia)
- Pain on passing feces (dyschezia), often with cycles of diarrhea and constipation
- Bloating, nausea, and vomiting
- Pain in the groin
- Pain on passing urine and/or increased urine frequency
- Pain during exercise
- Blood in sputum
- Seizures that change in severity with the menstrual cycle
How is endometriosis diagnosed?
The diagnosis of endometriosis is based on a detailed history, including the symptoms mentioned above, physical examination, and investigations.
Usually, the findings on physical examination are subtle. The most common finding is pain on applying pressure in the pelvic area.
Diagnostic examinations include:
What are the risk factors for developing endometriosis?
Risk factors for endometriosis include the following:
What is the treatment for endometriosis?
Although there is no permanent cure available, several treatment options exist.
Management with medication
The following drugs form the mainstay of pharmacologic care:
- Combination oral contraceptive pills
- Progestational agents
- Gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogs
- Conservative: when the reproductive potential of the patient is retained
- Semiconservative: when reproductive ability is eliminated, but the function of ovaries is preserved
- Radical: when the uterus and ovaries are removed (hysterectomy)
Latest Health News
- Lots of Nightmares in Middle Age Might Be Warning Sign of Dementia
- AHA News: Waiting For Takeoff, Her Heart Stopped. Flight Attendants Came to the Rescue.
- Big Studies Test Effectiveness of Common Diabetes Meds
- Can Deep Brain Stimulation Cure Severe OCD?
- A Good Night's Sleep Recharges Immune System
- More Health News »
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top What Are the Early Signs of Endometriosis Related Articles
Does Endometriosis Make You Fat?Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue that lines the inside of the uterus grows outside of the uterus. There is no research to conclusively prove that endometriosis directly causes weight gain in women who suffer from the condition. However, these women do frequently find themselves gaining weight.
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.
What Is Endometriosis?What is endometriosis? Endometriosis is an abnormal growth of endometrial cells found in the uterus. Not to be confused with endometrial cancer, endometriosis has different symptoms and treatments, including surgery.
Endometriosis QuizEndometriosis is a common gynecological condition. Take this quiz to learn what happens when a woman has endometriosis as well as causes, treatments, and risks.
Does Getting Pregnant Help Endometriosis or Make It Worse?Endometriosis can affect fertility and cause painful periods. Endometriosis symptoms may subside during pregnancy because your menstrual cycle has stopped, but this isn't always the case.
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.
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.
InfertilityInfertility 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.
Lupaneta Pack (leuprolide acetate/norethindrone acetate)Lupaneta Pack contains two different prescription medicines to treat endometriosis. This pack includes leuprolide acetate for depot suspension, a medicine injected into your muscle and used to treat pain due to endometriosis, and norethindrone acetate tablets, a medicine taken by mouth and used to help lower the side effect of bone thinning that is caused by leuprolide acetate for depot suspension.
Orilissa (elagolix)Orilissa (elagolix) is a prescription medicine used to treat moderate to severe pain associated with endometriosis. Bone density loss can be a serious side effect.
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.
Zoladex (goserelin acetate)Zoladex (goserelin acetate) implant is a GnRH agonist used to treat advanced breast cancer, prostate cancer, endometriosis, and endometrial thinning. Serious side effects vary depending on the condition treated.