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What is endometriosis?

Dr Louisa Draper

"It is important to see your GP if you have symptoms of endometriosis. Endometriosis can be difficult to diagnose because symptoms vary and are common to other conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)."

Dr Louisa Draper

Endometriosis is a condition where tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus (the endometrium) is found growing outside of the womb. This displaced tissue behaves like it normally would, thickening, breaking down and bleeding during your menstrual cycle. However, because there is no way for this material to exit your body, it can irritate surrounding tissues, causing damage and scarring. The abnormal tissue can also bind together, forming adhesions. 

Usually, the abnormal tissue is found within the pelvic area, commonly affecting the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bowel, bladder or the lining of the abdomen. Some women also develop ovarian cysts, which can become very large and painful. In rare cases, endometriosis can spread beyond pelvic region. Endometriosis is common and affects 1 in 10 women in the UK.