Endometriosis / Adenomyosis

Endometriosis is a disease that affects your reproductive organs and monthly menstrual cycle. It can cause cramps and pain during your periods or pelvic pain throughout the month. If you have this disease and it is not treated, your health can be affected. But, with early diagnosis and treatment, endometriosis can be managed.

Understanding Endometriosis

If you have endometriosis, endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus in the pelvic cavity. During your menstrual cycle, this extra tissue swells with blood along with the normal tissue in your uterus. The tissue may also release tiny drops of blood. The swelling and blood irritate nearby tissues, causing pain and cramps. Constant irritation may cause scar tissue to form. This scar tissue (adhesions) can bind organs together and cause trouble getting pregnant (infertility).

 

Normal Female Anatomy
Illustration of normal female anatomy

 

Severe Endometriosis
Illustration of severe endometriosis

 

Common Symptoms

If you have endometriosis, you may have one or more of these symptoms:

  • Cramps and menstrual pain
  • Pelvic pain
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Trouble getting pregnant (infertility)

Stages of Endometriosis

The stages of endometriosis are ranked as follows: Minimal (I), Mild (II), Moderate (III), or Severe (IV). Staging depends on certain factors. These include the number, size, and site of the implants (endometrial tissue). The stage also depends on the extent of the adhesions and whether other pelvic organs are involved. The severity of your disease may not match the pain you feel. Even mild endometriosis can cause a lot of pain.

 

Stage 1
Endometriosis Stage 1

 

Stage 2
Endometriosis Stage 2

 

Stage 3
Endometriosis Stage 3

 

Stage 4
Endometriosis Stage 4

 

Treatments for Endometriosis

Endometriosis can be treated with hormone therapy, surgery, or a combination of both. Talk to your health care provider to see which treatment is best for your condition.