The Women's Health Resource Center
Endometriosis is a condition that occurs when endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus. Endometrial tissue is the tissue that lines the uterus and is shed during menstruation. Once outside the uterus, endometrial tissue can develop into painful growths. Common sites for these growths include the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder, bowel, vagina, and the ligaments that support the uterus.
Endometrial tissue found outside the uterus responds to hormones released during the menstrual cycle. When the menstrual bleeding cycle starts, this abnormal endometrial tissue may swell and bleed. Scar tissue usually forms around the tissue and may also respond to menstrual bleeding by becoming swollen and painful. As the scar tissue increases, it can form adhesions that cover and bind the abdominal organs. Adhesions can interfere with an organ's normal function.
It is estimated that about 10% of all women develop some degree of endometriosis before reaching menopause. Endometriosis most often occurs in women without children between the ages of 25 and 40. The symptoms of endometriosis include mild to severe pain before and during menstrual periods, pain during sexual intercourse, and irregular bleeding or spotting. In more serious cases, scar tissue may cause infertility and in mild cases there can be no symptoms.
For more information on endometriosis and treatment options contact the Women's Health Resource Center at 415-600-0500, the Community Health Resource Center at 415-923-3155 or the Institute for Health and Healing at 415-600-3660.
What you can do…
- Exercise regularly.
- Avoid alcohol and reduce your consumption of saturated fats and sugar. Increase your intake of soy products.
- Have a complete pelvic exam annually.
- Speak to your health care provider if you experience pelvic or rectal pain.