Endometriosis happens when uterine tissue (the tissue that normally grows inside the uterus) grows outside on/in other organs in the body. It is most common in women in their 30s and 40s with symptoms usually improving during and after the menopause. In most cases, endometriosis affects the:

  • Fallopian tubes
  • Ovaries
  • Outside surface of the womb
  • Inside the pelvic cavity

It can also affect the:

  • Vagina
  • Cervix
  • Vulva
  • Bowel
  • Bladder
  • Rectum

In very rare cases, it can also affect other parts of the body including the lungs, skin and brain.

Symptoms include:

  • Very painful periods, often becoming worse with time
  • Lower back and pelvic pain
  • Pain during/after sexual intercourse
  • Stomach pain, including pain when having bowel movements or urinating during periods. Diarrhoea, bloating, constipation, or nausea during periods is also documented
  • Fatigue
  • Spotting/bleeding between periods
  • Fertility problems

Endometriosis is diagnosed through a pelvic examination, ultrasound scan and laparascopy surgery.

Although it is not yet possible to cure the condition, medication that contains hormones can be used to control endometriosis and sometimes you may be offered surgery to remove some of the tissue to improve your fertility. The most commonly used type of surgery is laparoscopy, which is usually, combined with laser surgery to target and precisely remove the small growths in the pelvis or abdomen. Laparotomy involves making a larger cut in the abdomen and is used if the endometriosis is very extensive and involves very large cysts being removed.

Endometriosis can cause infertility, especially if it damages the ovaries or fallopian tubes. Depending upon the damage, Assisted Reproductive Techniques are offered. Endometriosis is unlikely to cause problems once you are pregnant and being pregnant can sometimes reduce your symptoms.