By Cristina Mestre Ferrer BSc, MSc (embryologist).
Last Update: 12/22/2014

Endometriosis is an illness characterised by the apparition and growth of endometrial tissue outside the uterus.

The tissue is most commonly found in ovaries, Fallopian tubes, behind the uterus, in the bladder or the intestine. But it has also been found in organs located very far from the female reproductive system, such as the lungs.

It’s estimated that 10% of women in childbearing age suffer from endometriosis, being the third cause of visits to the doctor, due to infertility. However, this illness shows a great prevalence, affecting women of all age ranges, with an amount of 2.500.000 women affected. Endometriosis can’t be cured. Currently, painkillers are prescribed to minimize the pain, and it can be treated with hormonal therapy or surgery.

The symptoms vary a lot, being the most common an acute pain in the pelvic area, but there can be others too.

Pelvic pain

Symptoms

  • Painful menstruations and heavy bleedings (hypermenorrhoea).
  • Hurt in the lower area of the abdomen during the period.
  • Pain when defecating during the period.
  • Discomfort when urinating during the period.
  • Acute cramps in the lower back.
  • Annoyances during sexual intercourse.
  • Chronic fatigue.
  • Nausea and vomits.
  • Dizziness and vertigo.
  • Gastrointestinal disorders.

The luckiest women don’t show any symptoms (20-30%). Many women are diagnosed endometriosis when they have problems conceiving.

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Authors and contributors

 Cristina Mestre Ferrer
BSc, MSc
Embryologist
Bachelor's Degree in Biological Sciences, Genetics & Human Reproduction from the University of Valencia (UV). Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the UV and the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI). Embryologist at IVI Barcelona. More information
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