Endometriosis affects around one million women in the United States. Endometriosis is caused when tissue that normally grows in the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus. This tissue can be found on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bowel and possibly other areas in the pelvic cavity. Occasionally, the tissue can grow outside the pelvis.
During a woman’s period, the extra tissue swells with the regular tissue in the uterus. The swelling and blood irritates nearby tissues and can cause pain and cramping. Constant irritation may cause scar tissue to form, known as adhesions. The adhesions can bind organs together, causing additional pain and discomfort. Adhesions are the reason some women with endometriosis have a difficult time conceiving or maintaining a pregnancy.
Symptoms typically show up in a woman’s 30s or 40s however symptoms can appear in any woman having periods. There is no cure for endometriosis and the cause is unknown but there are several treatments for pain and infertility.