Endometriosis Causes Tissue Growth Where It Doesn’t Belong

Women's Health Update

Endometriosis is one of a few conditions that can affect a woman’s reproductive system.

With endometriosis, the type of tissue that normally grows in the uterus is found in other places throughout the body where it doesn’t belong, according to the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionOff Site Icon (CDC).

The tissue can be found on the ovaries, on the fallopian tubes, behind the uterus, on the bowels or on the bladder, according to the CDC. On rare occasions, it also can be found in other parts of the body.

During a woman’s menstrual cycle, the uterine tissue swells, bleeds and sheds. However, with endometriosis, when the misplaced uterine tissue grows and bleeds, it cannot properly leave the body and causes pain and swelling, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Women’s HealthOff Site Icon (OWH).

The tissue growths are not cancerous but can cause problems, according to the OWH, including:

  • Blocking of the fallopian tubes
  • Inflammation
  • Intestinal and bladder problems
  • Scar tissue that can interfere with pregnancy

Endometriosis is most common among women in their 30s and 40s. According to the OWH, the most common symptom of endometriosis is pain and other symptoms relating to that include:

  • Bleeding and spotting between menstrual cycles
  • Chronic back pain
  • Chronic pelvic pain
  • Digestive problems
  • Infertility and trouble getting pregnant
  • Intestinal pain
  • Pain during and after sexual intercourse
  • Painful cramps during the menstrual cycle

A specific cause for endometriosis hasn’t been found, but some possible factors that could lead to the condition include genetics, immune systems problems, hormones, retrograde menstrual flow and surgery that mistakenly picks up endometrial tissue and moves it elsewhere, such as a cesarean section, according to the OWH.

Treatment for endometriosis is decided on a case-by-case basis, depending on how the condition affects the patient. According to the OWH, the following are some treatment options available:

  • Alternative medicine and therapies, such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, and vitamins
  • Hormonal birth control is an option as treatment for women not trying to get pregnant. It is usually an effective treatment in women who are not experiencing severe pain
  • Pain medication can be used to treat some symptoms
  • Surgery can sometimes be necessary to remove some of the patches of endometriosis

For more information about endometriosis, talk with your doctor or find a physician.