Endometriosis: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment


What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a chronic, often painful condition that affects women during their reproductive years. It occurs when the endometrium, the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus, grows outside of the uterus on other organs or structures in the pelvic cavity. This misplaced endometrial tissue behaves just like the tissue lining the uterus, thickening, breaking down, and bleeding with each menstrual cycle.


However, unlike the endometrial tissue inside the uterus, which is expelled during menstruation, the displaced endometrial tissue has no way to exit the body. This leads to the buildup of scar tissue and adhesions, which can cause severe pelvic pain, infertility, and other complications.

Endometriosis is a complex condition that can significantly impact a woman’s quality of life. It is estimated to affect around 176 million women worldwide, with many cases going undiagnosed or misdiagnosed due to a lack of awareness and the condition’s diverse symptoms.

Causes of Endometriosis

Causes of Endometriosis
Causes of Endometriosis

The exact cause of endometriosis remains unknown, but several theories have been proposed to explain its development:

  1. Retrograde menstruation: This is the most widely accepted theory, which suggests that during menstruation, some endometrial cells flow backward through the fallopian tubes and into the pelvic cavity instead of leaving the body. These displaced cells then attach to other organs and continue to grow and bleed.
  2. Embryonic cell migration: According to this theory, endometrial cells may originate from embryonic cells that migrate to other parts of the body during fetal development.
  3. Immune system dysfunction: Some researchers believe that endometriosis may be an autoimmune disorder, where the body’s immune system fails to recognize and eliminate the misplaced endometrial cells.
  4. Genetics: Endometriosis tends to run in families, suggesting that genetic factors may play a role in its development.
  5. Environmental factors: Certain environmental toxins and chemicals may contribute to the development of endometriosis by disrupting hormone balance or immune function.

It is important to note that endometriosis is not caused by any single factor but is likely the result of a combination of these and potentially other unknown factors.

Symptoms of Endometriosis

Symptoms of Endometriosis
Symptoms of Endometriosis

The symptoms of endometriosis can vary widely from woman to woman, ranging from mild discomfort to severe, debilitating pain. Some common symptoms include:

  1. Pelvic pain: This is one of the most common symptoms, often described as a dull, aching, or cramping sensation in the lower abdomen or back. The pain may intensify during menstruation or sexual intercourse.
  2. Heavy menstrual bleeding: Women with endometriosis may experience heavy, prolonged, or irregular menstrual periods.
  3. Painful periods (dysmenorrhea): Severe cramps or pelvic pain during menstruation are common in women with endometriosis.
  4. Infertility or difficulty getting pregnant: Endometriosis is a leading cause of infertility, affecting up to 50% of women with the condition.
  5. Fatigue: Many women with endometriosis report feeling constantly tired or lacking energy.
  6. Gastrointestinal problems: Endometriosis can cause digestive issues such as diarrhea, constipation, nausea, or abdominal bloating, especially during menstruation.
  7. Painful urination or bowel movements: In some cases, endometriosis can affect the bladder or intestines, leading to pain during urination or bowel movements.

It’s important to note that the severity of symptoms does not necessarily correlate with the extent of endometriosis. Some women with severe endometriosis may experience mild symptoms, while others with minimal endometrial growth may have severe pain.

Diagnosis and Tests of Endometriosis

Diagnosis and Tests of Endometriosis
Diagnosis and Tests of Endometriosis

Diagnosing endometriosis can be challenging because there is no single definitive test for the condition. Your healthcare provider may use a combination of the following methods:

  1. Medical history and physical examination: Your doctor will ask about your symptoms, menstrual cycle, and any family history of endometriosis. They may also perform a pelvic exam to check for any abnormalities or tenderness.
  2. Pelvic ultrasound: An ultrasound can help identify endometrial growths or cysts in the pelvic area, but it cannot provide a definitive diagnosis.
  3. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): An MRI scan can provide detailed images of the pelvic organs and may help detect endometrial implants or adhesions.
  4. Laparoscopy: This minimally invasive surgical procedure involves making a small incision in the abdomen and inserting a thin, lighted tube (laparoscope) to visually examine the pelvic organs. During the procedure, your doctor may also take a biopsy (tissue sample) for further analysis.

Laparoscopy is considered the gold standard for diagnosing endometriosis, as it allows your doctor to directly visualize and confirm the presence of endometrial growths. However, it is an invasive procedure and carries risks associated with surgery.

Treatment Options for Endometriosis

While there is no cure for endometriosis, various treatment options are available to manage symptoms and improve quality of life. The choice of treatment depends on factors such as the severity of symptoms, the extent of endometriosis, and your plans for future pregnancy. Common treatment options include:

  1. Pain medication: Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or prescription medications can help alleviate pelvic pain and menstrual cramps associated with endometriosis.
  2. Hormone therapy: Birth control pills, patches, or rings can help regulate hormones and reduce the growth of endometrial tissue. Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists or antagonists may also be prescribed to temporarily stop ovulation and induce a pseudo-menopausal state, shrinking endometrial growths.
  3. Surgery: Laparoscopic surgery can be performed to remove endometrial growths, cysts, or scar tissue, potentially providing relief from pain and improving fertility. In severe cases, a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) may be recommended as a last resort.
  4. Complementary therapies: Some women find relief from endometriosis symptoms through complementary therapies such as acupuncture, massage, or dietary changes. However, these should be discussed with your healthcare provider and used in conjunction with conventional treatments.
Treatment Options for Endometriosis
Treatment Options for Endometriosis

It’s important to note that treatment for endometriosis is tailored to each individual’s needs and may require a combination of approaches. Regular follow-up with your healthcare provider is essential to monitor the effectiveness of the treatment and make any necessary adjustments.

Common Misconceptions About Endometriosis

Despite its prevalence, endometriosis is often misunderstood, leading to various misconceptions:

  1. Myth: Endometriosis is a rare condition. Fact: Endometriosis is a common gynecological condition, affecting an estimated 176 million women worldwide.
  2. Myth: Endometriosis only causes severe pain during menstruation. Fact: While painful periods are a common symptom, endometriosis can cause chronic pelvic pain, even outside of the menstrual cycle.
  3. Myth: Endometriosis is caused by stress or poor diet. Fact: The exact cause of endometriosis is unknown, but it is not caused by lifestyle factors alone.
  4. Myth: Endometriosis only affects women who have not had children. Fact: Endometriosis can affect any woman, regardless of whether or not she has given birth.
  5. Myth: Endometriosis is a form of cancer. Fact: Endometriosis is a benign condition and is not cancerous.
  6. Myth: Endometriosis goes away after menopause. Fact: While symptoms may improve after menopause due to lower hormone levels, endometriosis does not necessarily go away completely.

It’s essential to dispel these misconceptions and raise awareness about endometriosis to improve diagnosis, treatment, and support for women affected by this condition.

Fertility and Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a leading cause of infertility, affecting up to 50% of women with the condition. The presence of endometrial growths, scar tissue, and adhesions can interfere with ovulation, fertilization, and implantation, making it difficult to conceive naturally.

However, it’s important to note that not all women with endometriosis will experience fertility issues. The severity of the condition, the location of endometrial growths, and other factors can influence a woman’s ability to conceive.

Fertility and Endometriosis
Fertility and Endometriosis

If you have endometriosis and are trying to become pregnant, your healthcare provider may recommend the following options:

  1. Fertility medications: Medications such as clomiphene citrate or gonadotropins can stimulate ovulation and improve the chances of conception.
  2. Surgical treatment: Laparoscopic surgery to remove endometrial growths or adhesions may improve fertility in some cases.
  3. Assisted reproductive technologies (ART): In vitro fertilization (IVF) or intrauterine insemination (IUI) may be recommended for women with more severe endometriosis or those who have not conceived after other treatments.
Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART): IUI vs IVF vs ICSI
Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART): IUI vs IVF vs ICSI

It’s important to discuss your fertility goals with your healthcare provider and explore all available options. Early diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis can improve your chances of successful conception.


Endometriosis is a complex and often misunderstood condition that can significantly impact a woman’s quality of life. While there is no cure, effective management of symptoms and early diagnosis are crucial for reducing the impact of endometriosis on fertility and overall well-being.

If you suspect you may have endometriosis, it’s essential to seek medical advice and work closely with your healthcare provider to develop a personalized treatment plan. Remember, you are not alone in this journey, and support is available through endometriosis support groups and organizations.

If you or someone you know is suffering from endometriosis, don’t hesitate to seek professional medical advice. Our team of experienced gynecologists and healthcare professionals at InviCure IVF Center are dedicated to providing comprehensive care and support for women with endometriosis. Contact us or WhatsApp us at +91 88-6077-6071 to book a free appointment with our IVF specialists.

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