What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a common condition, affecting 10-20% of women. Having a relative with endometriosis doubles your risk. Endometriosis is the most common cause of pelvic pain. With symptoms that include painful periods, pain with intercourse, and pain with urination or bowel function, it can be a severe, life-altering condition.

The condition occurs when the endometrial cells, which normally line the uterine cavity, are found outside the uterus and in the peritoneal cavity where the tubes, ovaries and intestines are located. When the endometrial tissue lining the uterus grows into the muscle, the condition is called adenomyosis.

What Causes Endometriosis?

Each month during the menstrual cycle, these outside cells, just like the ones inside the uterus, grow and proliferate, then slough off and bleed. When endometrial cells are outside of the uterus, it causes inflammation, pain, scarring and infertility. These symptoms may affect one’s ability to work, go to school, enjoy intimacy or become pregnant. A woman suffering from especially severe symptoms may even have trouble getting out of bed.


Endometriosis can be difficult to diagnose and therefore is often missed. Ultrasound is used to exclude other causes of pain, such as cysts or fibroids. Once other causes are ruled out, women who have pelvic pain have a nearly 80% chance of having endometriosis. The risk is doubled for women whose mother or sister has endometriosis. Diagnostic laparoscopy remains the only true way to diagnosis endometriosis.

Because endometriosis can significantly impact a woman’s life, including infertility, diligent treatment is necessary.


Fortunately, there are more treatment options available today than ever before.

  • Medical management- NSAIDS like ibuprofen and naproxen are used to control the inflammatory symptoms of endometriosis.
  • Hormonal treatments – These are first-line mainstays of treatment and include oral contraceptive pills, birth control rings, progesterone injections and oral progesterone.
  • Hormonal suppression – The use of medications that suppress the normal hormonal cycle necessary for endometrial growth and proliferation, including Depo Lupron or Orilissa/Myfrembree.
  • Surgical management – Hysterectomy is considered the last resort option.