Endometriosis - causes, symptoms, stages, diagnosis and treatment

Medically Reviewed by Dr Sravya, MBBS, MS 


Endometriosis is one of the leading causes that has made many women long to experience the joy of motherhood only to meet disappointment. Endometriosis is a gynecological disorder, where the tissues that generally form inside the uterus in the uterine lining, called endometrium, form outside the uterus where it is not supposed to grow. It is a painful condition that may affect your day-to-day life and cause heavy, painful periods. It may also cause fertility issues.

What is endometriosis?


It is a condition that causes uterine tissues to grow outside the uterus and makes you uncomfortable with its symptoms. It affects fertility in some, causing them problems in conception.

The endometrium is the lining of the uterus where the tissues grow, which shed away during menstrual periods and support the growth of the fetus in pregnancy by keeping intact the endometrium. In this condition, the tissues grow in the organs, including ovaries, fallopian tubes, and in the lining of your pelvic region. It is very uncommon to find endometrial tissues in the areas where your endometrial tissues grow.

Generally, the endometrial tissues thicken and shed away during each menstrual cycle. With endometriosis, the tissues grow outside the uterus, and they do not have a way to shed away. Hence, the tissues get trapped inside the body. Endometriosis, which involves organs like ovaries, may have a formation of cysts called endometriomas. The cysts irritate and lead to the development of scar tissue, i.e., bands of fibrous tissue that stick pelvis tissues and organs to each other.

Causes of endometriosis

Endometriosis does not have a clear cause but is thought to have caused due to the following reasons.

Types of endometriosis

Endometriosis has different types based on the location of the pelvis it affects. It is divided into four main types:

Stages of endometriosis

There are four stages of endometriosis. Let us discuss them in detail.

Symptoms of endometriosis

Pelvic pain that is associated with menstrual periods may be a symptom of endometriosis. Period pains involve cramping, but the pain with endometriosis is worse than normal menstrual pain.

Symptoms of endometriosis include:

Diagnosis of endometriosis

Primary diagnosis of endometriosis involves assessment of symptoms. Primary symptoms include painful and heavy periods. A pelvic examination may be carried out. To collect more information, your OB-GYN may carry out imaging, and an MRI may be carried out. A laparoscopy may be performed to retrieve a tiny tissue sample that will be forwarded to the lab for endometriosis diagnosis.

Treatment of endometriosis

Based on the symptoms that you present, your healthcare provider may make a plan of treatment. Certain factors that are taken into consideration while making a treatment plan:

The primary focus of the treatment for endometriosis lies in managing and treating your pain along with improving reproductive functions if you are planning a baby. Treatment of endometriosis involves medications and surgery depending upon the severity of the symptoms.

Medicines, including hormonal pills and painkillers, are prescribed. Let us discuss the role of these medicines in the treatment of endometriosis.


Endometriosis is a gynecologic disorder that causes the endometrial-like tissue to grow outside the uterus. It causes severe pain that affects your day-to-day life. It may cause infertility. An endometrium is an internal lining of tissues that is shed away every month during the menstrual period. However, in endometriosis, the tissues grow outside the uterus, and hence, the blood does not leave the body and remains there.

Retrograde menstruation is assumed to be the cause of endometriosis, transformation of peritoneal cells into endometrial-like cells, conversion of embryonic cells to endometrial-like cells during puberty, and surgical incisions that have this tissue growth.

Symptoms of endometriosis include painful periods, painful intercourse, and painful urination. Endometriosis is divided into four stages viz: minimal, mild, moderate, and severe. These stages have minimal to severe growth of tissues and affect fertility.

Diagnosis of endometriosis primarily involves a physical examination and imaging in a few cases if required. In a few cases, a laparoscopy may be done to diagnose endometriosis. Your gynecologist may check your family history for endometriosis and may make a treatment plan considering a few factors like your age, plans for a baby, and severity of the pain.

Treatment of endometriosis includes hormonal pills to suppress the excessive production of estrogen that causes the growth of endometrial-like tissues. Medicines used to treat this condition include progestin and danazol, a steroid similar to the male hormone testosterone, which reduces tissue growth and pain associated with endometriosis.

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