Endometriosis is when tissue that is normally in the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus. It can be found on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bowel and possibly other places in the pelvic cavity. Sometimes it can even grow outside the pelvis.
This extra tissue may be referred to as “implants.” During your period, the extra tissue swells with blood along with the normal tissue in your uterus. This swelling and blood can irritate nearby tissues, which can cause pain or cramps. Constant irritation may cause scar tissue known as “adhesions” to form. These adhesions can bind organs together and cause additional pain or discomfort. Adhesions may also make it difficult to get pregnant or maintain a pregnancy. In other words, adhesions caused by endometriosis can cause infertility.
Endometriosis is one of the most common health problems for women. Symptoms are usually experienced by women in their 30s and 40s, but can occur in anyone who has menstrual periods. The exact cause of endometriosis is unknown, although there are many theories. Unfortunately, there is no cure for endometriosis but there are several treatments for the pain and infertility it may cause.
Common Symptoms of Endometriosis
If you have endometriosis, you may have one or more of these symptoms:
- Cramps and menstrual pain
- Pelvic pain
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Infertility – trouble getting pregnant (endometriosis)
Stages of Endometriosis
The stages of endometriosis are ranked as follows: minimal (I), mild (II), moderate (III), or severe (IV). Staging of this condition depends on the number, size, and site of the implants. The stage also depends on the extent of the adhesions and whether other pelvic organs are involved. The severity of your disease may not match the pain you feel. Even mild endometriosis can cause severe pain.