Endometriosis is a medical disorder in which the layer of the uterus called the endometrium grows outside the uterus. Endometriosis, sometimes called “endo,” is a common health problem in women. It may affect more than 11% of American women between 15 and 44.1 It is especially common among women in their 30s and 40s and may make it harder to get pregnant. Most often, endometriosis is found on the:
- Fallopian tubes
- Tissues that hold the uterus in place
- Outer surface of the uterus
- endometriosis appears in other parts of the body, such as the lungs and skin.
Possible Causes of Endometriosis
No one knows for sure what causes this disease. Researchers are studying possible causes:
Problems with menstrual period flow: Retrograde menstrual flow is the most likely cause of endometriosis. Some of the tissue shed during the period flows through the fallopian tube into other areas of the body, such as the pelvis.
Genetic factors: Because endometriosis runs in families, it may be inherited in the genes.
Immune system problems: A faulty immune system may fail to find and destroy endometrial tissue growing outside of the uterus. Immune system disorders and certain cancers are more common in women with endometriosis.
Hormones: The hormone estrogen appears to promote endometriosis. Research is looking at whether endometriosis is a problem with the body’s hormone system.
Surgery: During a surgery to the abdominal area, such as a Cesarean (C-section) or hysterectomy, endometrial tissue could be picked up and moved by mistake. For instance, endometrial tissue has been found in abdominal scars.
Symptoms of endometriosis
In some women with endometriosis, there are no specific symptoms. Symptoms of endometriosis can include:
- Very painful menstrual cramps. The pain may get worse over time.
- Chronic (long-term) pain in the lower back and pelvis
- Pain during or after sex. Intestinal pain
- Painful bowel movements or pain when urinating during menstrual periods.
- In rare cases, you may also find blood in your stool or urine.
- Bleeding or spotting between menstrual periods.
- Infertility, or not being able to get pregnant.
- Stomach (digestive) problems. These include diarrhea, constipation, bloating, or nausea, especially during menstrual periods.
Prevalence of endometriosis among women
Endometriosis occurs in 6-10% of US women in the general population,  and approximately 4 per 1000 women are hospitalized with this condition each year. The exact incidence in the general population is unknown, because the definitive diagnosis requires biopsy or visualization of the endometriotic implants at laparoscopy or laparotomy. Endometriosis is an estrogen-dependent disease and, thus, usually affects reproductive-aged women. This condition has a prevalence rate of 20-50% in infertile women, but it can be as high as 71-87% in women with chronic pelvic pain. Most research and case studies have been performed in white populations; however, no difference appears to exist among ethnic or social groups.
Endometriosis prevention methods
You can’t prevent endometriosis. But you can reduce your chances of developing it by lowering the levels of the hormone estrogen in your body. Estrogen helps to thicken the lining of your uterus during your menstrual cycle.To keep lower estrogen levels in your body, you can:
- Talk to your doctor about hormonal birth control methods, such as pills, with lower doses of estrogen.
- Regular exercise and a lower amount of body fat .
- Avoid large amounts of alcohol) Alcohol raises estrogen levels(.
- Avoid large amount of drinks with caffeine.