Endometriosis affects up to one in four women of reproductive age and is a condition where endometrial tissue is found outside of the uterus, mainly within the pelvis, such as the ovaries or tissues (ligaments) supporting the uterus but also less commonly the appendix, bowel, or bladder.

While the exact cause of endometriosis is uncertain, a number of theories exist: it is likely that several factors contribute to the formation of endometriosis, including genetic or familial predisposition, environmental and immunological factors, reversal of menstrual flow and changes to the lining of the pelvic cavity.

Like the endometrium inside the uterus, the endometriotic implants swell and react to the monthly hormonal cycle. The body responds by surrounding the affected area with scar tissue. The formation of scar tissue (adhesions) may result in damage to other pelvic structures and may cause these to stick together. Over time, the endometrial tissue may also enlarge and form cysts (endometrioma), particularly in the ovaries. These cysts are often referred to as ‘chocolate cysts’ because they are filled with old blood which is chocolate-like in appearance.

Symptoms women may experience with endometriosis may include pain with periods, ovulation or, intercourse, pain when passing urine or opening bowels, or continuous pelvic or lower back pain. Other problems may include bowel and bladder problems and for some women difficulty falling pregnant (infertility).

Endometriosis is diagnosed by laparoscopic surgery usually performed by a gynaecologist, and often any endometriosis may be treated at the same time.  Eve Health gynaecologists are highly experienced in the laparoscopic management of severe endometriosis. We have a strong history of dealing with the “too-hard” cases that are referred from other practitioners. More information on Laparoscopic Surgery is available here and Laparoscopic resection of endometriosis is available here.

If you think you may be experiencing some of these symptoms, please ask your GP to consider referring you to an Eve Health gynaecologist for further assessment and investigation.

Further Information on endometriosis can be found at www.pelvicpain.org.au and www.endometriosis.org.au