Endometriosis

Endometriosis Information Image

Endometriosis is non-malignant and occurs when endometrial cells, normally found only on the inside of the uterus (endometrium), become embedded in locations outside the uterus.

  • Endometriosis occurs in 10 to 15 percent of women between the ages of 25 and 44.
  • Over 5.5 million women in the United States and Canada are affected by endometriosis.
  • An estimated 25 to 50 percent of women suffering from infertility also have endometriosis.

The Female Reproductive System and Endometriosis

Typically, endometriosis occurs in the organs of the female reproductive system, on the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus. Other typical sites for endometriosis within the female reproductive system include the vagina, cervix, vulva and ligaments that support the uterus and urinary tract.

Information on endometriosis issued by the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics confirms that endometriosis may also occur outside the pelvis, ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes. Endometriosis can also be found in the intestines and rectum, appendix, diaphragm, lungs, thigh, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, surgical scars, and musculoskeletal and neural systems.

Who is at Risk for Endometriosis?

Heredity is a known risk factor. A woman who has a mother or sister with endometriosis is six times more likely to develop endometriosis, compared with the general population. Other risk factors for endometriosis include:

  • early onset of periods
  • late pregnancy
  • hormonal imbalance (higher estrogen levels increase the risk)
  • long, heavy periods
  • existing problems of the immune system or the female reproductive system, particularly the fallopian tubes, ovaries and uterus
  • exposure to environmental
  • estrogenic toxins
  • Caucasian and Asian ethnicity.

Early Information on Endometriosis

Although endometriosis was first identified in the seventeenth century, it wasn’t until the late 1920s that the contemporary theory of its cause was born. According to R.F. Valle (International Journal of Gynecology