Endometriosis is a common disease in reproductive age. It can cause pelvic pain, infertility or both. Learn more about this disease.
Endometriosis involves the implantation of tissue that normally covers the inside of the uterus (endometrium) outside the uterus, usually in the pelvic organs (ovary, fallopian tubes and intestine) and the peritoneum that covers them. This abnormally implanted tissue causes irritation in the pelvis producing pain and infertility.
While it is true that the history of symptoms and some findings at physical examination may suggest the presence of endometriosis, the only way to detect it accurately is by introducing a special telescope through the navel to look at the pelvis directly (laparoscopy). Occasionally endometriosis produces cysts in the ovaries (endometriomas) that have a typical appearance on ultrasound and may also be suspected by this method.
The pain associated with endometriosis can be treated with medicines that block ovulation, so this treatment is not useful to treat infertility. When the patient has infertility and depending on each particular case, minimally invasive surgery (laparoscopy) should be used to remove this abnormal tissue from the ovaries and tubes in order to increase the chances of pregnancy but sometimes treatments such as intrauterine insemination and in vitro fertilization are better options to get pregnancy.