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What is endometriosis

Endometriosis is a condition where the endometrium that normally lines the uterus, is also outside the uterus. Common sites are the ovaries and the ligament supports of the uterus itself. Women with an "ectopic" endometrium will have a period each month, but as there is no escape route for the blood produced, a little blood-filled blister is formed. Each month this will increase in size. Sometimes ovarian endometriosis can form very large cysts filled with old blood.

What are the symptoms of endometriosis

Endometriosis is associated with infertility. In severe cases, when adhesions are formed, it results in infertility because the motility of the tubes is reduced. In less severe cases, the increased production of prostaglandin by the endometriosis probably interferes with normal tubal and ovarian function. Apart from infertility, other major aspects of this condition are increasingly painful periods sometimes with heavier bleeding, and painful intercourse on deep penetration. Surprisingly, quite a number of women with severe endometriosis have no symptoms at all. On pelvic examination the uterus may be less mobile than usual and even fixed in its position. Sometimes firm, tender nodules can be felt in the pelvic ligaments.

How is endometriosis tested and treated

When the history and examination suggest the possibility of endometriosis, the definite diagnosis is usually made at laparoscopy.  The treatment is either medical or surgical.

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