Endometriosis is a painful, chronic disease
that affects 5 1/2 million women and girls in the
and Canada, and millions more worldwide. It occurs
when tissue like that which lines the uterus (tissue
the endometrium) is found outside the uterus -- usually
in the abdomen on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and
ligaments that support the uterus; the area between
the vagina and rectum; the outer surface of the uterus;
and the lining of the pelvic cavity.
Other sites for these endometrial growths may include
the bladder, bowel, vagina, cervix, vulva, and in abdominal
surgical scars. Less commonly they are found in the
lung, arm, thigh, liver, diaphragm and other locations.
This misplaced tissue develops into growths or lesions
which respond to the menstrual cycle in the same way
that the tissue of the uterine lining does: each month
the tissue builds up, breaks down, and sheds.
Menstrual blood flows from the uterus and out of
the body through the vagina, but the blood and tissue
shed from endometrial growths has no way of leaving
the body. This results in internal bleeding, breakdown
of the blood and tissue from the lesions, and inflammation
-- and can cause pain, infertility, scar tissue formation,
adhesions, and bowel problems.
What are the Symptoms of Endometriosis?
- Pain before and during periods
- Pain with sex
- Painful urination during periods
- Painful bowel movements during periods
- Other Gastrointestinal upsets such as diarrhea,
In addition, many women with endometriosis suffer
- Chemical sensitivities
- Frequent yeast infections
Diagnosis is considered uncertain until proven by laparoscopy,
a minor surgical procedure done under anesthesia. A
laparoscopy usually shows the location, size, and extent
of the growths. This helps the doctor and patient make
better treatment choices.
What Causes Endometriosis?
The cause of endometriosis is unknown. The retrograde
menstruation theory (transtubal migration theory) suggests
that during menstruation some of the menstrual tissue
backs up through the fallopian tubes, implants in the
abdomen, and grows.
Some experts believe that all women experience some
menstrual tissue backup and that an immune system problem
or a hormonal problem allows this tissue to grow in
the women who develop endometriosis.
Another theory suggests that endometrial tissue is
distributed from the uterus to other parts of the body
through the lymph system or through the blood system.
A genetic theory suggests that it may be carried in
the genes in certain families or that some families
may have predisposing factors to endometriosis.
Surgical transplantation has also been cited in many
cases where endometriosis is found in abdominal scars,
although it has also been found in such scars when accidental
implantation seems unlikely.
Another theory suggests that remnants of tissue from
when the woman was an embryo may later develop into
endometriosis, or that some adult tissues retain the
ability they had in the embryo stage to transform reproductive
tissue in certain circumstances.
Research by the Endometriosis
Association revealed a startling link between dioxin
(TCCD) exposure and the development of endometriosis.
Dioxin is a toxic chemical byproduct of pesticide manufacturing,
bleached pulp and paper products, and medical and municipal
waste incineration. The EA discovered a colony of rhesus
monkeys that had developed endometriosis after exposure
to dioxin. 79% of the monkeys exposed to dioxin developed
endometriosis, and, in addition, the more dioxin exposure,
the more severe the endo.
General Articles on Endometriosis
- Endometriosis – A guide for Patients
- Endometriosis – National
Library of Medicine.
- Endometriosis: Does
It Cause Infertility? – from
- Endometriosis and Infertility: Can
Surgery Help? From ASRM
and Infertility – Georgia
a modern syndrome, a review from a leading Belgian
- Teen Endo
- Endometriosis. Overview from the Mayo Clinic
Treatment of ENDOMETRIOSIS and PELVIC PAIN by Dr. Lichten
Endometriosis and other CAPPS Components
- Patients with chronic pelvic pain: endometriosis
or interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome?
- The relationship between interstitial cystitis
and endometriosis in patients with chronic pelvic
cystitis and endometriosis in patients with chronic
pelvic pain: The "Evil
Patient Advocacy and Support
- Endometriosis Association
The Endometriosis Association is dedicated to
providing information and support to women and
girls with endometriosis, educating the public
as well as the medical community about the disease,
and conducting and promoting research related
- Endometriosis Association Support Groups
General Endometriosis Information and Resources
- Endometriosis Association
- Endometriosis Zone
- Endozone - Where Endometriosis Patients Find
Surgeons & Solutions
- Endometriosis Research Center
- Endometriosis Information forum
Photographs of Endometriosis
- Laparoscopic Images of Endometriosis
- Endometriotic on the pelvic peritoneal wall
- Several images from endo-resolved.com
Conquering the Silent Invader:
scroll down to view an image of endometriosis.
- Endometriosis Photographs
from Georgia Reproductive Specialists
from Womens’ Surgery Group
Videos on Endometriosis
- Robotic resection of endometrioma, lysis of
adhesions, and LUNA procedure
surgery - No adhesions in this video but
a good description of fairly normal anatomy except
and some enlarge veins as well as adenomyosis
in the uterus.
endometriosis with adhesions - follow
the additional parts posted for this video
use of bipolar electrosurgery in: Microlaparoscopy,
Ovarian Drilling, Resection of Endometriosis,
Lysis of Adhesions, and Norplant Removal.
- Adhesiolysis & Excision of Endometriosis
using the Everest Medical BiLap Probe by Mark
Perloe, M.D. "Resection of Endometriosis" and "Lysis
Reproductive Health Centre (ARHC):
scroll down to a video demonstrating: the excision
Research in Endometriosis
- Clinical trials in Endometriosis from ClinicalTrials.gov
- Clinical Trials in Endometriosis from CenterWatch
- Pubmed – Medical and Scientific Articles
Reduction for Relief of Fibroids & Endometriosis by Susan Lark
- Treatment with Lupron
to Related Conditions