Understanding Endometriosis

Annual Women’s Health Section


It’s easy to let health fall by the wayside, especially when life gets busy. But it’s always important to listen to the little voice in your head that suspects something isn’t right. Here, we highlight common health concerns for women, what to look out for, and when to see your doctor. Don’t let your busy schedule stand in the way of getting the help you need!


By Lindsey June


Endometriosis is a serious health condition and one of the leading causes of infertility in women. 


Understanding Endometriosis 

Endometriosis is a disorder in which tissue that is similar to the tissue that typically lines the inside of the uterus grows outside of it instead. The painful condition often affects the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the tissue lining the pelvis. Endometriosis is a serious health issue that can lead to infertility or difficulty getting pregnant. According to Johns Hopkins, an estimated 2 to 10% of women between the ages of 25 and 40 have the disorder.

Risk Factors and Symptoms   

The exact cause of endometriosis is not known, but doctors have determined certain risk factors, which include starting your period at an early age, short menstrual cycles, never giving birth, low body mass index, a family history of the disorder, and other medical conditions that prevent the passage of blood from the body during menstruation. Women with endometriosis experience painful menstrual cramps, abnormal or heavy periods, infertility, and other gastrointestinal problems. 

Effects of Endometriosis

Endometriosis is one of the three major causes of infertility. In fact, research shows that infertility affects 30 to 50% of women with endometriosis. In mild cases, infertility may be temporary, and surgery to remove scar tissue can restore reproductive facilities. However, others may remain infertile.

In addition to infertility, other effects of endometriosis include chronic pelvic pain and risk of adolescent chronic pain and depression if left untreated. 

Treatment and Outlook

In mild cases, endometriosis only requires pain medication and nothing more. However, in more severe cases, treatment may include hormone therapy and surgical techniques like laparoscopies and laparotomies to remove scar tissue. In extreme cases, a hysterectomy may be necessary for the safety of the patient. 

Currently, there is no cure for endometriosis, but there are ways to make the pain more manageable. Rest, relaxation, and meditation can help ease the body and mind. Warm baths can put relief on the affected areas. Exercise and overall health management can also help keep more severe symptoms at bay.

If you suspect you have endometriosis, it’s important to talk to your doctor to develop a treatment and pain management plan that works best for you.

expert advice on endometriosis from Dr. Shevonda Sherrow at Innovative Women's Health Services

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