There are many myths and misconceptions about endometriosis.  In this short introduction to endometriosis we provide short answers to frequently asked questions – but please do click through to more thorough information!

You can also download the World Endometriosis Society’s Facts about endometriosis (PDF).

What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus is also found elsewhere in the body, mainly in the abdominal cavity. 
→ More about endometriosis

Who gets endometriosis?

Endometriosis typically affects women during their menstruating years – also known as their “reproductive years”.  These are typically the years between the onset of menstruation until menopause.

It is estimated that 176 million women across the world has endometriosis – this is one in ten women during the reproductive years (10%).

What are the symptoms of endometriosis?

The most common symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain. The pain is often with menstruation, during ovulation, and/or in connection with sexual intercourse. However a woman with endometriosis may also experience pain at other times during her monthly cycle. Another symptoms is infertility, and some women with endometriosis also experience severe fatigue.
→ More about symptoms

How is endometriosis diagnosed?

The only way to diagnose endometriosis for sure is during a laparoscopy, which is a small surgical procedure. However, many physicians are able to “diagnose” endometriosis based on a woman’s symptoms and start treatment on that basis.
→ More about how to diagnose endometriosis
→ More about surgical procedures for endometriosis

Is there a cure for endometriosis?

No. But it can be treated, and for many women it is possible to manage their symptoms through a combination of long term treatments. 
→ More about treatments
→ More about how to cope with endometriosis

Where do I find someone who specialises in endometriosis?

Most national or local support groups will be able to advise you where to find specialist help. Also read our article on how to find a centre which specialises in treating endometriosis and the questions you need to ask your physician before you decide on the right specialist and the right treatment for you.
→ A practical guide to finding a centre of excellence/endometriosis specialist
→ List of support group across the world

Is endometriosis a sexually transmitted disease or infectious?

No. Endometriosis cannot be transferred from one human being to another. The cause of endometriosis is not yet known, but it is not an infectious disease. 
→ More about the causes of endometriosis

Is endometriosis inherited?

The cause of endometriosis is not yet known, but research does show that first-degree relatives of women with this disease have a seven-fold risk of developing endometriosis.
→ More about the causes of endometriosis

Will I be able to have children?

It is estimated that 30-40% of women with endometriosis may have difficulties in becoming pregnant. This, however, means that 60-70% will have no problems. If fertility is a great wish, then please discuss your symptoms with your physician so that together you can develop the best treatment plan for you.
→ More about endometriosis and fertility

Will a hysterectomy cure endometriosis?

Some women chose, as a last resort, to have a hysterectomy. However, this does not guarantee complete pain relief. If you opt for a hysterectomy it is important that all the endometriosis is removed at the same time.
→ More about hysterectomy
→ More about endometriosis surgery

Will pregnancy cure endometriosis?

No. Some women find that their pain symptoms are reduced during pregnancy, but this is not the case for everyone. In most cases, endometriosis will return after giving birth and stopping breast feeding.
→ More about endometriosis and pregnancy

Is endometriosis cancer?

No. Endometriosis cysts are sometimes referred to as “beningn tumours”, because they may “behave similarly” to cancer, but endometriosis is not the same disease. In very rare cases, endometriotic implants has lead to cancer, but this is very very rare. Some research suggests that some women with endometriosis may be at a slightly higher risk of developing certain cancers but this is still controversial.
Endometriosis and ovarian cancer 

See also

FACTS about endometriosis


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