Endometriosis, or “endo,” happens with tissue similar to endometrium—the tissue inside the uterus—grows outside your uterus.
Many women have symptoms for years before their endometriosis is diagnosed and effectively treated. Talk to your doctor if you experience:
Explore ways you can manage endometriosis at home.
Exercise regularly to help control hormones that fuel endometrial tissue growth and activity.
The best treatment for you depends on your condition and symptoms, and whether you want to get pregnant in the future
Hormone therapy may help relieve pain, slow endometrial tissue growth and prevent new extrauterine endometrial tissue. Types of hormone therapy include:
Your doctor may recommend surgery if hormone therapy doesn’t help or you are trying to become pregnant:
Some women, particularly young women, get relief from endometriosis symptoms with:
Up to 10% of women of reproductive age have endometriosis. That’s about 5 million women in the United States.
Endometriosis mainly affects women during their reproductive years—the years between their first and final period.
No. Some women experience uncomfortable cramps that can be relieved by over-the-counter pain medications. However, pain that makes you want to curl up in a ball or leads to missing school or work is not normal.
An estimated 30% to 40% of women with endometriosis have some difficulty becoming pregnant. This, however, means that 60% to 70% have no problems.
No. However, some women have less endometriosis pain during pregnancy. In most cases, endometriosis returns after giving birth and stopping breastfeeding.
If your symptoms suggest endometriosis, your doctor may do a pelvic exam, recommend an imaging test, or prescribe hormonal medicines to see if they relieve your pain. The only way to know for sure if you have endometriosis is to examine your tissue using a minimally invasive surgical procedure.
No. Endometriosis cannot be transferred from one person to another. While the cause is unknown, genetics likely play a role. Women who have a first-degree relative (mother or sister) with endometriosis are seven times more likely to develop endometriosis themselves.
Unfortunately, no. However, endometriosis can be treated, and many women manage their symptoms through lifestyle changes, medication and/or surgery.