What is endometriosis

Get current, up-to-date information on exactly what endometriosis is.

Introduction

You’re probably feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information about endometriosis online. Our pages are a great way to learn more without feeling lost.

What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a long-term condition where cells similar to those found in the uterus grow elsewhere in the body. Like the uterus lining, this tissue responds to the same hormones that regulate periods. With endometriosis, inflammation in the cell lesions causes pain. Over time this inflammation can also lead to development of scar tissue.

In Scotland, around 250,000 women and those assigned female at birth are diagnosed with endometriosis. Many more remain undiagnosed. It takes, on average, over 8.5 years to be diagnosed in Scotland. The condition affects all races and ethnicities and can last from puberty to menopause. Yet the symptoms can continue for many.

Symptoms include chronic pain, fatigue, depression and sometimes infertility. Unfortunately, this can negatively affect work, relationships and mental health. Many women struggle to communicate the severity of their condition to employers, leading to problems with HR. However, with the right treatment, symptoms can be managed, and life can be very comfortable.

Recently, there has been some fantastic breakthrough research led by world experts, helping us to understand and manage the condition better. Our future is very hopeful.

Causes of endometriosis

The exact cause of endometriosis is unknown. Theories include retrograde menstruation, where menstrual blood flows back into the pelvic cavity, and embryonic cell transformation, where hormones change embryonic cells into endometrial-like cell implants during puberty. Endometrial cell transport and immune system disorders may also contribute.

Types of endometriosis

Often categorised into stages, we prefer using ‘subtypes’ since staging doesn’t communicate the severity of endometriosis symptoms. Click on the links below to learn more about each subtype.

Treatment options

While endometriosis can’t be cured, there are a few treatments that focus on symptom management and improving your quality of life. Options include:

  • Pain Management: Using over-the-counter painkillers and prescribed medications.
  • Hormone Treatments: Aiming to reduce or stop menstruation to ease symptoms.
  • Surgical Options: Removing as much endometriosis tissue as possible while preserving fertility.

Click the links above for more information about each treatment.

Find support

Information, emotional support, and connection for those on a similar journey.