Skip to content

    Endometriosis Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Endometriosis and Fallopian Tube Problems

    Endometriosis is a common and painful disease that affects about 5.5 million women in North America and is one of the top three causes of infertility in women.

    During a normal menstrual cycle, the lining of your uterus -- called the endometrium -- begins to thicken in preparation for becoming pregnant. If you don't become pregnant that month, your body sheds the endometrium during menstruation and the process starts over. In endometriosis, for reasons that doctors don't entirely understand, tissue very similar to the endometrium begins to grow outside the uterus in various places that it shouldn't. It can appear in or on the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, the various structures that support the uterus, and the lining of the pelvic cavity. Sometimes, it's found in other places as well, including the cervix, vagina, rectum, bladder, bowel, and elsewhere.

    Recommended Related to Endometriosis

    Endometriosis Patient Education Center

    Visit WebMD's Women's Health Health Center • Newly Diagnosed? Find help here. • Healthwise from WebMD: Endometriosis Overview • Your Guide to Endometriosis: Get Information from the Cleveland Clinic • WebMD Member Story: Searching for a Solution • Reach Out: Endometriosis Support Group Message Board • Reach Out: OB-Gyn Issues Message Board with Jane Harrison-Hohner, RN, RNP

    Read the Endometriosis Patient Education Center article > >

    The problem is that this tissue behaves like normal endometrial tissue -- it builds up and breaks down with your menstrual cycle -- but it can't be shed like normal endometrial tissue during your period. As a result, endometriosis can cause irritation, inflammation, and the formation of scar tissue. This buildup of tissue can prevent the eggs from getting out of the ovaries or being fertilized by sperm. It can also scar and block the fallopian tubes, preventing the egg and sperm from meeting.

    In addition to fertility problems, some common signs and symptoms of endometriosis include:

    Some women with endometriosis do not have symptoms.

    Getting Pregnant When You Have Endometriosis

    Most women who have endometriosis can conceive normally. But if you're having problems getting pregnant, endometriosis may be the cause. To find out, your doctor may suggest a laparoscopy. In this procedure, a surgeon inserts a small camera through a tube into your abdomen to check for abnormal endometrial tissue. The surgeon might want to confirm the diagnosis with a biopsy. If you've been diagnosed with endometriosis, you have several treatment options, depending on the severity of the disease.

    Today on WebMD

    Endometriosis Overview
    Slideshow
    mature woman with serious expression
    Article
     
    Distracted woman
    Article
    healthtool pregnancy calendar
    Article
     
    pelivic pain slideshow
    Article
    estrogen gene
    Quiz
     
    uterus and inlay of fibroids
    Article
    woman talking to doctor
    Article
     
    Doctor discussing screening with patient
    Article
    young woman with thoughtful expression
    Article
     
    contraceptive pills
    Article
    Teenage girl with heat pad on stomach
    Article
     

    WebMD Special Sections