Endometriosis is a gynecological condition that affects between 2% and 10% of American women ages 25 to 40.1 The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development estimates that in the U.S., more than 5 million women are struggling with endometriosis.2
Even well-known personalities develop this condition. Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi, actress Whoopi Goldberg, author Meg Cabot, personal trainer Jillian Michaels and country singer Dolly Parton all have shared the problems they’ve had with endometriosis.3
Fast Facts About Endometriosis
Endometriosis mainly involves the endometrium, or the tissue that lines the uterus.4 When you have endometriosis, this means that tissue that appears similar and acts like endometrium develops outside your uterus. The tissue will still thicken, separate and bleed during your monthly period, but it can cause intense pain since it’s not in its usual place and doesn’t have any passageway to be released from the body.5
Johns Hopkins Medicine notes that endometriosis can affect the ovaries, fallopian tubes and the ligaments that support the uterus. The outer surface of the uterus, the space between the uterus and rectum and the space between the uterus and bladder may also be affected, along with the lining of the pelvic cavity.6
While a definite cause of endometriosis has not been established, there are factors that have been linked to this condition. They include retrograde menstruation (wherein menstrual blood with endometrial cells that are meant to be released moves backward to the fallopian tubes and into the pelvis7), immune system problems, embryonic cell growth, hormones, genetics and the environment.8,9
Infertility among women is one of the main complications that can arise from endometriosis.10 According to a 2010 Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics study, 25% to 50% of infertile women suffer from this condition, while 30% to 50% of women diagnosed with endometriosis are infertile.11
Women with endometriosis may also have a higher risk for adhesions — these are sticky portions of endometriosis tissue that can cause some organs to adhere to each other. Painful, fluid-filled ovarian cysts may also develop.12
Don’t Let Endometriosis Get in the Way of Your Life
While endometriosis has been touted as a painful condition that women often struggle with, there are natural methods available that may help with pain relief. Even though endometriosis may not be completely prevented,13 there are modifications that you can implement to your lifestyle that may lower your chances of having this condition.
These resource pages provide helpful information you need to raise your awareness about endometriosis: what it is, the different stages that can affect you and potential treatment and remedies that you can use to your advantage.