The endometrium is the inner lining of the womb in which an
embryo (fertilised egg) is implanted and grows. When no egg is
fertilised, the lining breaks down and is discharged as a
Endometriosis is a condition in which patches of endometrium
occur in parts of your body other than your womb. Often this is
your pelvis or lower abdomen (tummy), but it can also occur in the
ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix, vagina and areas of the
Most women with endometriosis are diagnosed between the ages of
25 and 40
Symptoms vary from person to person with some people having no
symptoms at all. However the most common symptom is painful
periods. With each menstrual cycle, the patches of endometrium go
through the same sequence of changes that affect the womb lining.
This includes the monthly casting-off of blood, mucus and surface
tissue. Because the blood and other material produced often cannot
escape, it can build up, causing pressure and pain.
Other symptoms may include painful sexual intercourse,
discomfort when urinating or bleeding from your bottom (rectum).
Other symptoms are varied and depend on the location of this
Diagnosis and treatment
Treatment is usually started if the symptoms suggest
endometriosis. Treatment for endometriosis is amined at easing the
symptoms as there is no cure. Treatments can include pain killers,
hormone treatments and surgery. However some people with mild
symptoms decide not to take any treatment. In fact many cases of
endometriosis get better without treatment. If initial treatment is
not successful, then a laparoscopy may be arranged.
For a formal diagnosis to be made you have to be referred to a
specialist for an examination called a laparoscopy. During a
laparoscopy, a special narrow telescope (a laparoscope) is passed
into your body so the specialist can view the endometrial tissue
and occasionally take a small sample (a biopsy) for laboratory
Help, information and support
- If you have any concerns or questions about your health speak
to your GP immediately.
- Or you can speak to a doctor or nurse at your local Sandyford Clinic
- The National Endometriosis Society provides information and
support about the condition. More at: http://www.endometriosis-uk.org