Endometriosis is a chronic, incurable condition in which some endometrial tissue (tissue which acts like the lining of the uterus) grows in parts of the body other than within the uterus. The tissue usually grows in the abdominal cavity, most commonly on the outside of the uterus and on the ovaries or fallopian tubes, and less commonly on the bladder or bowel. The growths may vary in size, from microscopic to the size of a grapefruit. Each month, these "implants" respond to the menstrual cycle, filling with blood, thickening, breaking down, and bleeding.(5) Unlike normal menstrual flow, this blood has no way to leave the body. instead, it is absorbed by the surrounding tissue. The result is usually painful - bleeding, inflammation, and scarring.
Some estimates of the number of Endometriosis sufferers top 15% of premenopausal adult women, but more conservative sources estimate that number to be more like 2% - 4% of that population.(4, ch.4) The disease is notably more prevalent among women suffering from infertility, one of its symptoms, and among women immediately related to those who have been diagnosed with Endometriosis.(1)
Diagnosis of Endometriosis may be facilitated by taking a full medical history, performing a pelvic examination, and through ultrasound, but the only sure way to diagnose the condition is through laparascopic surgery.