Learn more about endometriosis to better understand this condition, which is often painful and can be quite emotional to go through for millions of women. Endometriosis effects about 5 million American women, according to the Office on Women’s Health.
With endometriosis, the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus starts growing on the outside. According to the Mayo Clinic, the tissue continues to thicken, break down and bleed during menstrual cycles, but can’t leave the body and becomes trapped. This can lead to ovarian cysts, scar tissue, and adhesions.
Endometriosis can be very painful, especially during your period. Symptoms and signs include:
- Dysmenorrhea (painful periods)
- Excessive bleeding
- Pain with sexual intercourse
- Painful bowel movements
It is important to see a doctor if you think you may have endometriosis. Tests can include a pelvic exam, ultrasound, and laparoscopy.
The exact cause of endometriosis is not known. According to the Mayo Clinic, it can lead to infertility problems and can also increase the rate of ovarian cancer in some women. There are different types of treatments available, such as pain medications, hormone therapy, and surgery.