Now Reading
Endometriosis Awareness

Endometriosis Awareness

 

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month. The goal of endometriosis awareness is to increase knowledge and visibility of a disease that affects well over 100 million people across the globe.1

What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is defined as the process in which the tissue that lines the uterus (endometrium or endometrial tissue) settles outside the uterus.1 This condition is often painful and negatively affects the tissue surrounding the pelvis, the fallopian tubes, and the ovaries. Most often, the pain associated with endometriosis occurs during one’s menstrual cycle.2

Signs and Symptoms of Endometriosis

The most common symptom associated with endometriosis is pelvic pain. Many women experience cramping during their menstrual cycle, but those diagnosed with endometriosis report menstrual pain as being much worse than usual and can become even worse over time.2 Some additional symptoms can include: 

  • Pain when urinating or having bowel movements 
  • Excessive Bleeding 
  • Infertility 
  • Nausea 

If you think you may have signs and/or symptoms of endometriosis, it is important to advocate for your health and contact your healthcare provider. If you feel your symptoms are being overlooked by a doctor you can always get a second or even a third opinion. 

Causes of Endometriosis

While there are research studies currently taking place on the condition, the cause of endometriosis has not yet been established.4 A few potential causes are: 

  • Retrograde menstruation 
    • Occurs when endometrial cells are in the menstrual blood that flows back into the fallopian tubes and into the pelvic cavity, as blood is also flowing out of the body through the cervix and vagina during monthly menstrual cycles.4 
  • Cellular Metaplasia 
    • Occurs when cells begin changing forms. This theory teaches that cells outside of the uterus change and grow into endometrial formations.4
  • Genetic Factors 
  • Immune System Problems 
    • Immune system disorders and certain cancers have been associated with endometriosis.5 
  • Hormones 
  • Surgeries such as c-sections or hysterectomies 5 
  • Blood or Lymph System Transport 
    • Endometrial tissues are moved to other areas of the body through the lymphatic system or blood.6

How Does Endometriosis Affect Fertility?

Endometriosis is believed to be a common cause of infertility. An estimated 30-50% of people diagnosed with endometriosis can also experience infertility.1 Endometriosis reduces the monthly probability of pregnancy by 1-10%.1 However, there are treatments for endometrial infertility. The treatment options include medication, surgery, or a combination of both. Consult your healthcare provider to determine the best course of action.1

Prevention

Endometriosis is described as an idiopathic condition, meaning there are no known causes or prevention methods. It is encouraged that you educate yourself and be aware of the symptoms and risk factors. Keep the lines of communication open with your healthcare provider to stay on top of your health.6 

Risk Factors Associated with Endometriosis

There are a few research studies that show recurring risk factors that can put a person at a higher risk for having endometriosis.6 Some of these risk factors include: 

  • Family history of endometriosis 
  • Early menstrual cycle (typically before 11 years of age) 
  • Short menstrual periods 
  • Heavy blood flow during menstrual period 

 

A few actions that can lower the risk of endometriosis or help manage the symptoms include pregnancy, breastfeeding, anti-inflammatory diets, and eating fruit (especially citrus).6 Contact a trusted healthcare provider to discuss the appropriate approach(es) to manage symptoms or lower the risk of endometriosis for you. 

 

Written by: Taylor Neither, MPH 

Blog Expertly Reviewed by: Dr. Krista Mincey, MPH, Dr.PH, MCHES 

 

References 
  1. Massachusetts General Hospital. 2023. https://www.massgeneral.org/obgyn/fertility/news/endometriosis-and-its-impact-on-fertility
  2. Mayo Clinic. 2023. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/endometriosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20354656 
  3. Mount Sinai. 2024. https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/diseases-conditions/endometriosis 
  4. World Health Organization. 2023. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/endometriosis 
  5. Office on Women’s Health. 2021. https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/endometriosis 
  6. Johns Hopkins Medicine. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/endometriosis 
Scroll To Top