What is Endometriosis

Endometriosis is an incurable disorder

It can cause serious and debilitating symptoms, such as chronic pelvic pain, pain with menstruation, and pain during sex, urination and bowel movements.

Many endometriosis sufferers also have trouble getting pregnant and suffer from fatigue.

A hallmark of endometriosis is the presence of tissue like the womb lining (‘endometrial-like’) outside the uterus (womb), most commonly in the pelvis.

The three commonest subtypes of pelvic endometriosis are (1) superficial peritoneal, (2) ovarian (endometrioma or ‘chocolate cysts’) and (3) deep disease.

Endometriosis can also occur outside the pelvic cavity, for example the chest (thoracic endometriosis), caesarean section scars and umbilicus (‘tummy button’).

It is estimated that at least 190 million individuals may have endometriosis world-wide but this is probably an underestimate.

Individuals with endometriosis often wait many years for a diagnosis.

Although some cases can be diagnosed with imaging, there are currently no reliable blood tests for endometriosis and many people have to wait for surgery to look inside the pelvis (laparoscopy) for endometriosis lesions to make the diagnosis.

The main treatments are surgery to remove the endometriosis, although symptoms often come back, or hormone treatments that can cause unpleasant side effects.

Many individuals try changes to their diet and/or exercise to control their symptoms, but there is very little research on whether this is effective.