What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis (en-doe-me-tree-O-sis) is an often painful disorder in which tissue similar to the tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus — the endometrium — grows outside your uterus.  
When the endometrial-like tissue grows outside the uterine cavity, it can cause pain in the organs where the endometrial-like tissue is growing. This irritation can develop into bands of scar-like tissue (called adhesions) that, over time, can twist the organs and tie them together into unnatural positions, causing extreme pain.


The American Society for Reproductive Medicine grades endometriosis into four stages depending on severity: stage 1 is minimal, stage 2 is mild, stage 3 is moderate, and stage 4 is severe endometriosis. However, stage does not necessarily correlate with the level of pain someone is experiencing; for example, two women with stage 2 endometriosis may report very different levels of pain.

Endometriosis Stages
Possible Sites of Endometriosis

What Signs and Symptoms are Associated with Endometriosis?

Women with endometriosis often show the following symptoms:

Chronic pelvic pain

Chronic back pain
An abnormal menstrual cycle and unable to function normally due to pain and symptoms
Severe period pain, which may cause nausea, vomiting that can persist even with the use of pain medicines
Pain during intercourse
Feeling bloated or suffering from diarrhea or constipation
Frequent urination

Interstitial cystitis – Or feeling as if you have frequent urinary tract infections


However, some women may not show any signs or symptoms of endometriosis.

How Is Endometriosis Diagnosed?

A diagnosis of endometriosis can only be confirmed through a minimally invasive procedure called laparoscopy. After patients complete a medical history and assessment, your physician will order an ultrasound to see whether any presence of ovarian cysts or endometrial polyps. 
If endometriosis is suspected, your physician may want to make an appointment for diagnostic surgery at a surgical center.


Signs & Symptoms

Painful symptoms

  • Painful periods

  • Pain on ovulation

  • Pain during an internal examination

  • Pain during or after sex

  • Pelvic Pain


Bleeding symptoms

  • Heavy periods with or without clots

  • Prolonged bleeding

  • Spotting or bleeding between periods

  • Loss of 'old" or 'dark' blood before a period

Bowel and bladder symptoms

  • Painful bowel movements

  • Bleeding from the bowel

  • Symptoms of irritable bowel (diarrhea, constipation, bloating - particularly during period)

  • Pain when passing urine

  • Pain before or after passing urine or opening bowel


Other symptoms

  • Tiredness/lack of energy

  • Depression

  • Back pain

  • Leg pain