Endometriosis is a common condition where tissue that behaves like the lining of the womb is found outside the womb. Endometrial tissue elsewhere in the body will go through the same process of thickening and shedding as it would in the uterus, but it has no way of leaving the body. This leads to pain, swelling and sometimes fertility problems if the fallopian tubes or ovaries are damaged.
Endometriosis of the pelvis is a relatively common condition affecting around 25% of women, with a peak incidence between the ages of 30 and 50 years. Symptoms to watch for are painful periods unresponsive to pain killers, heavy menstrual periods lasting more than five days, chronic pelvic pain, discomfort during intercourse and failure to conceive despite normal investigations.
Endometriosis mainly affects the lining of the pelvic cavity, uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes. The diagnosis is usually made by telescopic inspection of the pelvic cavity (laparoscopy). Early diagnosis gives an opportunity to diagnose and treat this debilitating condition at an earlier stage. Endometrial ablation and other surgical treatments are available at Spire Edinburgh hospitals to reduce, or remove endometrial tissue.
Symptoms can very significantly between women, with some having few or no symptoms while others experience high levels of discomfort and pain. You should see your GP if you have symptoms of endometriosis so they can try to identify the cause or refer you to a specialist.