Skip to content

Endometriosis Health Center

Your Guide to Endometriosis

Font Size
A
A
A

Who Can Get Endometriosis?

Any woman who has menstrual periods can get endometriosis. Endometriosis occurs most often between the ages of 25 and 40, but it also can occur in younger women. The condition is most common in women who have not had children.

Is Endometriosis Cancer?

Endometriosis is not cancer. Endometriosis also does not increase a woman's risk for uterine or other cancers.

How Do I Know If I Have Endometriosis?

If you have any symptoms of endometriosis or are having difficulty becoming pregnant, contact your doctor. After obtaining a thorough medical history, he or she will perform a routine physical and a pelvic exam.

If endometriosis is suspected, you may need to have a procedure called diagnostic laparoscopy. In this procedure, the doctor inserts a small tube attached to a camera through an incision in the abdomen. He or she examines the reproductive organs and pelvic cavity using the device. A sample of tissue may also be gathered for testing, called a biopsy. However, because laparoscopy has some risks, often the diagnosis of endometriosis is presumed and a treatment plan is started without doing this procedure.

Can Endometriosis Be Cured?

There is no known cure for endometriosis. Most of the time, once effective management of the symptoms has been determined, the treatment will continue until menopause unless you are trying to get pregnant. There are very effective treatments to reduce the size of tissue growth and to relieve painful symptoms. Symptoms lessen or cease during pregnancy and the menopause.  This is because the monthly bleeding cycle which causes the growths or nodules does not occur. The hormonal medications used to treat endometriosis work by lessening or attempting to stop the monthly menstrual cycle, mimicking the body’s response to pregnancy or menopause. When this happens, the growths are less likely to bleed, leading to less inflammation and subsequent scarring or cyst formation.

How Is Endometriosis Treated?

Endometriosis without symptoms, or with mild symptoms, usually does not require medical treatment. Your doctor may choose to follow you with frequent examinations.

When necessary, treatment may vary depending on whether you are being treated for pain or infertility secondary to the endometriosis.

Today on WebMD

Endometriosis Overview
Slideshow
pelivic pain slideshow
Slideshow
 
healthtool pregnancy calendar
Article
Birth control pills
Slideshow
 
Low Tech Fertility Treatment
Video
Comparing Birth Control Pill
Feature
 
Woman Covering Face
Slideshow
Period Questions
Feature
 
Infertility Slideshow
Slideshow
Menstrual Problems Whats Normal
Quiz
 
Screening Tests for Women
Slideshow
UTI Overview Slideshow
Slideshow
 

WebMD Special Sections