- Endometriosis affects people mostly in their reproductive years (aged 12-52) and can even affect those in their youth
- On average, there is a 7-10-year delay in diagnosis
- Endometriosis is one of the leading causes of infertility
What are the most common symptoms of endometriosis?
- Painful periods
- Long periods
- Periods with heavy bleeding
- Bowel and urinary disorders
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Pain during sexual activities
- Chronic fatigue
Is there a "cure" for endometriosis?
- There is no cure for endometriosis, but there are many treatment and management options to greatly improve patients' quality of life.
What kind of doctor should I see if I suspect I have endometriosis?
- It is important to talk to an OB/GYN about any symptoms related to your reproductive health. Do not be afraid to seek a second opinion if you do not receive the care you deserve.
Can pregnancy stop the progression of endometriosis?
- Temporarily. Pregnancy and the increase in progesterone levels often relieve symptoms, but they typically return after birth and/or after stopping breastfeeding.
How and why does endometriosis cause infertility?
- Researchers are still trying to understand the relationship between endometriosis and infertility, but endometriosis is one of the top three causes of female infertility. Many women are unaware of their infertility or endometriosis until they attempt to get pregnant. In some women, endometriosis goes untreated, and the disease progression allows the endometrial lesions to block the fallopian tubes and inhibit ovulatory functioning. Some studies also suggest that endometriosis may alter the uterus in a way that disrupts embryo implantation, however, this notion requires more research.
What is the cause of endometriosis? Are you born with it?
- Research is still ongoing to determine the exact cause of endometriosis, but some studies suggest a genetic component.
Can endometriosis be inherited?
More research is necessary to fully understand the genetic characteristics of endometriosis. With one first-degree family member affected (mother, sister, daughter), a person has an increased risk of having endometriosis.
Are there any links between endometriosis and cancer?
- This is an area of research that is just beginning to expand.
If you get a hysterectomy, will my endometriosis pain stop?
- When the uterus is removed, there is no longer any chance of becoming pregnant. EndoFound does not recommend a hysterectomy as a sound treatment option for endometriosis. Pain associated with endometriosis does not necessarily stop when a hysterectomy is completed as the ovaries continue to produce estrogen, facilitating disease progression. Additionally, lesions may still be found on other organs (perhaps unrelated to the reproductive system), which may cause symptom manifestation.
Can birth control cause other problems like blood clots?
- Yes, birth control can cause a range of side effects. However, many patients say they are much easier to manage than the symptoms of endometriosis. The risks of any medication or intervention must be discussed with your doctor.
How is endometriosis different from uterine fibroids?
- Uterine fibroids are similar in that they develop from the cells of the lining of the uterus, but they typically remain inside the uterus and are often asymptomatic.
How is an ovarian endometrioma (endometriosis cyst) different from other ovarian cysts?
- An endometrioma has endometrial-like cells in the lining. Other ovarian cysts can be benign or cancerous. Benign cysts are typically caused when the egg-releasing follicle in the ovary continues to grow with a follicular or luteal-type lining. They remain in the ovary for weeks or months. They are typically harmless but can rupture, causing pain. Cancerous ovarian cysts can be life-threatening. If cysts persist for more than a few weeks, surgery is commonly used to clarify the type.
Can endometriosis be transmitted through sex or person-to-person contact?
- No, endometriosis cannot be transmitted through sexual contact or person-to-person contact.
What if my period comes once and then not again for three or four months?
- During puberty, there are often menstrual irregularities that occur. These usually stabilize over time, but, if you have specific questions or concerns, you can always contact your doctor to be sure.