Endometriosis

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Endometriosis gets its name from the endometrium, the specialized tissue that is normally found on the inside lining of the uterus. When tissue that resembles the endometrium begins growing in other parts of the abdomen besides the inner lining of the uterus, this condition is referred to as endometriosis. In nearly half the cases of endometriosis, the offending tissue will grow on or around the ovaries. It can, however, occur in many other places, almost always appearing, however, in the pelvic region.

The most common and easily identified symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain. Any occurrence or combination of pelvic pain, painful sex, painful urination or bowel movements, intense menstrual cramping or lower back pain could indicate endometriosis. The amount, type or frequency of pain does not, however, indicate the scale or progression of the condition. Many widespread and advanced stages of endometriosis can produce little or no pain, while other cases of severe pain or cramping can be caused by relatively small occurrences of endometriosis in an early stage. Because of this, it is important to have regular screenings and check-ups, particularly if you experience any painful symptoms as described above.

While its cause is currently unknown, and there is no cure, several treatment options are available for endometriosis that can offer an alleviation or elimination of symptoms and can aid the disease’s regression. Depending on the circumstances, location and progress of the occurrence, endometriosis can help be controlled by a combination of hormone therapy, medication and, in some cases, surgical procedures.

Web resources about endometriosis are numerous: ACOG and Wikipedia offer excellent coverage. An informative video can be found at the Endometriosis Research Center.