Endometriosis is a condition that causes the tissue that lines the uterus to grow somewhere else. These growths are called endometrial implants. The condition affects between 5%-18% of women in the United States. It is a common cause of infertility, and the leading cause of pelvic pain.
While implants are most commonly found on the ovaries, they can also grow on the:
- Fallopian tubes
- Outside of the uterus
Rarely, endometrial implants can travel outside the pelvis to old surgery scars, the lungs, brain and liver.
Symptoms associated with endometriosis include:
- Painful intercourse
- Pelvic pain
- Lower abdominal pain
- Low back pain
- Pain on urination
- Pain on having bowel movements
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Rarely, chest pain or headaches
The cause of endometriosis is unknown, but retrograde menstruation—where menstrual blood flows back into the fallopian tubes instead of leaving the body—might contribute to it.