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Contributors: Mitchell Linder MD
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The endometrium is the innermost lining layer of the uterus. Its function is to stabilize and support an early pregnancy. When fragments of endometrial lining are found outside of the uterine cavity, this is referred to as endometriosis.

The exact etiology of this condition is unclear, but the prevailing thoughts are toward retrograde menstruation (endometrial fragments pushed into the abdomen through the fallopian tubes) and localized lymphatic spread. Areas affected can include all abdominal organs but most commonly involve the ovaries, bladder, fallopian tubes, and the uterine support ligaments.

Each month, due to hormone effects, lesions cycle through changes that ultimately lead to scar tissue and adhesions. This cycling process and scarification cause chronic inflammation and pain.

Risk factors include early age of menarche, shorter menstrual cycles, family history, longer menstrual flow, and nulliparity.

Endometriosis affects approximately 6%-10% of women of reproductive age. Presenting symptoms can be nonspecific and variable but may include cyclic pelvic pain, pain with intercourse, abdominal pain, chronic pain, painful periods, or pain with bowel movements or a full bladder. This condition can also be completely asymptomatic and only present as infertility or as an incidental finding at the time of an unrelated surgery.

Related topics: Cutaneous endometriosis, Thoracic endometriosis


N80.9 – Endometriosis, unspecified

129103003 – Endometriosis

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Last Reviewed: 08/30/2017
Last Updated: 10/11/2019
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Endometriosis : Constipation, Infertility, Pelvic pain, Dysmenorrhea, Dyspareunia, Dysuria
Imaging Studies image of Endometriosis
Ultrasound image demonstrates left ovarian unilocular cyst with diffuse low level echoes and through transmissions. In this patient with known endometriosis, findings consistent with endometrioma.
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