The ABCs of Endometriosis

The ABCs of Endometriosis - Large

Having endometriosis is challenging. Knowing how to talk about it shouldn't be. Get familiar with these common terms so you can talk more easily with your doctor or health care provider about your diagnosis and treatment.

Adenomyosis: A benign (noncancerous) invasion of endometrial tissue into the uterine wall

Adhesions: Scarring that binds tissue surfaces together

Biopsy: A minor surgical procedure to remove a small piece of tissue that is examined under a microscope

Cervix: The lower part of the uterus that opens into the vagina

Computerized tomography (CT) scan: A technique of x-ray imaging that creates a three-dimensional image

Dysmenorrhea: Painful menstrual cramps

Dyspareunia: Painful sexual intercourse, which can be a symptom of endometriosis

Endometriosis: A medical condition where tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside the uterus, often on the ovaries, fallopian tubes and other pelvic structures

Get familiar with these common terms.

Endometrium: The lining of the uterus that is shed each month during menstruation

Estrogen: A hormone produced in the ovaries. Estrogen stimulates the endometrium to thicken and prepare for pregnancy during the first half of the menstrual cycle

Fallopian tubes: Tubes through which an egg travels from the ovary to the uterus

Follicle: A small round cyst under the surface of the ovary that contains the egg. At ovulation, a mature follicle releases the egg

Gonatropin-releasing hormone agonists (GnRH): Synthetic chemicals used to block the effects of certain hormones.

Hormone: A substance produced by the body to control the function of various organs

Hysterectomy: Removal of the uterus

Infertility: A condition in which a couple has been unable to get pregnant after 12 months without using birth control

Inflammation: Pain, swelling, redness and irritation of body tissues

Implants: Small, flat patches of endometrial-like cells growing outside their normal location

Laparoscope: A thin camera used to inspect the pelvic and abdominal organs

Laparoscopy: A surgical procedure in which a surgeon inserts an instrument called a laparoscope into the pelvic cavity through a small incision in or below the navel. This lets the doctor inspect the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries and other pelvic organs

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): A diagnostic imaging procedure that absorbs energy from high-frequency radio waves

Nodules: Penetrating knot-like collections of endometriosisThe ABCs of Endometriosis - In Content

Ovaries: Two glands located on either side of the uterus that contain the eggs released at ovulation and that produce hormones

Ovulation: Release of the egg from the ovary

Pelvic exam: A physical examination of a woman’s reproductive organs

Peritoneum: The membrane that lines the pelvic and abdominal cavity

Progesterone: A hormone secreted by the ovaries during the second half of the menstrual cycle

Progestin: A synthetic form of progesterone that is similar to the hormone your body produces naturally

Prostaglandins: Hormone-like chemicals produced in large amounts by endometrial cells. They stimulate the uterine muscles to contract and cause menstrual cramps

Rectum: The last part of the digestive tract

Ultrasound: A technology that uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of internal organs

Ureters: A pair of tubes, each leading from one of the kidneys to the bladder

Uterus: The muscular organ in which a pregnancy develops

Small Steps: Know when to seek support
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by depression, anxiety or worry, consider joining a support group or talking to a mental health professional.