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Understanding Endometriosis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

May 17, 2023

As per data, there are an estimated 24 million Indian women who are suffering from a chronic medical condition called endometriosis. It is one of the leading causes of infertility issues in women. This condition has a wide range of symptoms, presentations, and severity, which causes many health issues that affect the quality of life. So understanding endometriosis and its causes, symptoms, and treatment is essential. Read below to learn more about it.

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What is Endometriosis?

Is endometriosis a disease? No. It is a chronic, painful condition where the tissues that line the uterus grow outside the uterine cavity. Endometriosis involves the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and pelvis. The endometrial-like tissues are very rarely found beyond areas of the pelvic region. The endometrial-like tissues act like normal endometrial tissue. It breaks apart and bleeds with every menstrual cycle, but the blood gets trapped with no place to go. The tissues in the surrounding areas become irritated and inflamed. This can later develop into lesions and scars. It may result in discomfort and other problems. But with treatment, this problem can be controlled.

Endometriosis Symptoms

Now that we know what is endometriosis, it is essential to know the endometriosis symptoms to get quick and appropriate treatment. Note that some people have mild symptoms, and others have moderate to severe symptoms. The severity of pain does not show the degree or stage of endometriosis. You may have a mild condition but severe pain, and vice versa. Also, know that you may not have any symptoms at all. However, for those who have symptoms, if you are wondering what are the first signs of endometriosis, it is pelvic pain:

  • Cramps a week or two before menstruation
  • Painful periods
  • Heaving bleeding during periods
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Pain during bowel movements
  • Infertility
  • Lower back pain during the menstrual cycle
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Fatigue

After knowing what are the first signs of endometriosis if you have two or more of the above symptoms, get it checked by a gynecologist.

Endometriosis Causes and Risk Factors

In a regular menstrual period, the body sheds the uterine lining. This helps the blood from menstruation flow out through the small cervical opening from the uterus through the vagina. But for people with endometriosis, the tissue that develops out of the uterus breaks but has no place to come out. So is endometriosis a disease? No, it is not, but the exact cause of this condition is not known. Some of the possibilities are:

  • Retrograde menstruation: The menstrual blood, which has endometrial cells, blows back into the pelvic area through the fallopian tubes instead of going out of the body. These cells stick to the walls and surfaces of the pelvic area and continue to thicken over every menstrual cycle.
  • Embryonic cell transformation: It is believed that estrogen and some other hormones transform embryonic cells into endometrial-like implants at puberty.
  • Peritoneal cell transformation: Experts suggest that hormones or immune-related factors induce peritoneal cell transformation into endometrial-like cells.
  • Endometrial cell transport: The blood vessels may transport the endometrial cells to various parts of the body.
  • Immune system disorder: Issues with the immune system lead to the body not recognizing and destroying the endometrial-like tissue that grows outside the uterus's walls.
  • Surgical scar implantation: After a C-section or hysterectomy, the endometrial cells may get attached to an incision.

Risk factors

Is endometriosis dangerous? It is not life-threatening but it severely impacts a person's quality of life. So knowing the risk factors gives you a better handle on the situation.

  • Having early puberty
  • Having a short menstrual cycle of fewer than 27 days
  • Not giving birth
  • Having late menopause
  • Having more estrogen in the body
  • One or more of your relatives, like a sister, mother, or aunt, has endometriosis.
  • Low body mass index
  • Reproductive tract issues
  • Medical conditions prevent blood from passing from the body during a menstrual cycle.

Endometriosis takes many years to develop after menarche (onset of menstruation). For some people, the endometriosis symptoms may improve after pregnancy and go away with the onset of menopause.

Endometriosis treatments

How to prevent endometriosis? There is no known cure for this condition, and treatments include medication or surgery. You may have to try various treatments to determine what makes you feel better. Here are some of the treatment options:

  • Hormone therapy: It helps to reduce the estrogen levels in the body so that your periods stop. This helps to reduce the bleeding of lesions, and there is less cyst formation, scarring, and inflammation. Birth control pills, vaginal rings, and patches are common hormone therapy treatments.
  • Pain medication: OTC pain relievers that are nonsteroidal and anti-inflammatory may be prescribed. If this does not help, other options are explored.
  • Surgery: Surgery may be performed to remove the tissues. It can be a standard surgery or a laparoscopy. In severe cases, you may need a hysterectomy to take out the uterus, ovaries, and cervix.
  • Lifestyle changes: Changes to the lifestyle are one of the ways how to prevent endometriosis. It includes eating right with more fresh vegetables and fruits and reduced fat. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and smoking. Eat foods that have omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Exercise: It is said that working out helps the heart improve blood circulation, helps oxygen flow, and also circulates it to all organs. People who exercise have less estrogen and lighter periods, which improves endometriosis symptoms.
  • Manage stress: Experts believe it can worsen the symptoms and lead to severe pain.
  • Alternative therapies: Acupuncture, ayurveda, herbal medicine, etc. may bring relief from symptoms, but talk to your doctor before trying them.

Is endometriosis dangerous? No, but it has many side effects, including infertility and chronic pain, which makes it all the more important to get timely and proper treatment.

Must Read : Conquering Endometriosis: How to Rise Above the Condition


Endometriosis is a chronic condition for which the cause is not known and there is no cure. But with effective endometriosis treatment like hormone therapy, medications, etc., the side effects like infertility, pain, etc. can be managed. But it is essential to meet the doctor to get a proper diagnosis and treatment based on symptoms and stage.


1. What is the main cause of endometriosis?

The exact reasons for this chronic condition are not clearly known, and there are many theories, none of which are scientifically proven. Among the many theories, the oldest is that it happens because of retrograde menstruation. It is a condition in which the blood returns into the pelvic cavity through the fallopian tubes instead of coming out of the body from the vagina.

2. What problems are caused by endometriosis?

It leads to severe pain during menstruation, bowel movements, and urination. There is pain in the pelvis area as well as a feeling of fatigue, bloating, and nausea. It is also the main cause of infertility.

3. Is endometriosis a serious problem?

It is not a life-threatening disease, but it greatly impacts the quality of life due to the pain and other health issues it causes.

4. What is the main treatment for endometriosis?

Hormone therapy is the main treatment for endometriosis.

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