Endometriosis: Symptoms, Treatments, Causes, and Tests
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Endometriosis is the development of uterine-lining tissue outside the uterus. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, heavy periods, and infertility. Treatment options include pain relievers, hormones, and surgery.
Endometriosis – Topic Overview
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a problem many women have during their childbearing years. It means that a type of tissue that lines your uterus is also growing outside your uterus. This does not always cause symptoms. And it usually isn't dangerous. But it can cause pain and other problems.
The clumps of tissue that grow outside your uterus are called implants. They usually grow on the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, the outer wall of the uterus, the intestines, or other organs in the belly. In rare cases they spread to areas beyond the belly.
How does endometriosis cause problems?
Your uterus is lined with a type of tissue called endometrium. Each month, your body releases hormones that cause the endometrium to thicken and get ready for an egg. If you get pregnant, the fertilized egg attaches to the endometrium and starts to grow. If you do not get pregnant, the endometrium breaks down, and your body sheds it as blood. This is your menstrual period .
When you have endometriosis, the implants of tissue outside your uterus act just like the tissue lining your uterus. During your menstrual cycle, they get thicker, then break down and bleed. But the implants are outside your uterus, so the blood cannot flow out of your body. The implants can get irritated and painful. Sometimes they form scar tissue or fluid-filled sacs. Scar tissue may make it hard to get pregnant.
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