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Endometriosis

Updated: Oct 20, 2022

Endometriosis is a chronic inflammatory condition that can affect women of reproductive age.



Endometriosis is a chronic inflammatory condition that can affect women of reproductive age. It occurs when endometrial-like tissue (similar to the tissue that lines the uterus (womb)) exists in other parts of the body - most commonly in the pelvis.

The treatment of endometriosis can over time involve medication and surgery (to remove the endometriosis by laparoscopy). Women who have endometriosis may require both of these treatments at different stages of their lives.

During the reproductive cycle, the tissue that lines the uterus (endometrium) thickens in response to release of hormones to prepare to enable a fertilized egg to implant to begin a pregnancy. If this does not happen the lining breaks down and is shed, and a menstrual period occurs.


Endometriosis deposits outside the uterus behave in a similar way during the cycle and so cause pain during a period. The breakdown of the lining involves inflammation, and can be painful.


Endometriosis is:

  • common – at least 1 in 10 females have endometriosis

  • an oestrogen dependent condition – endometriosis responds to the hormone oestrogen. Oestrogen is produced by the ovary throughout the ‘reproductive years’, i.e. from the time you start having periods (puberty) to the time your ovaries no longer release hormones (menopause)

  • a long-term (chronic) condition - endometriosis rarely goes away without treatment before the menopause. People with endometriosis may require long-term healthcare support.




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