The uterus, or womb, is the place where a baby grows when a woman is pregnant. Endometriosis is a disease in which the kind of tissue that normally grows inside the uterus grows outside the uterus. It can grow on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bowels, or bladder. Rarely, it grows in other parts of the body.
Symptoms include pain, usually in the abdomen, lower back, or pelvic areas; infertility; heavy periods and bleeding between periods; and painful menstrual cramps. Some women have no symptoms at all. Having trouble getting pregnant may be the first sign.
The cause of endometriosis is not known. Surgery, usually a laparoscopy, is currently the only way to be sure that you have endometriosis. Your health care provider will first take your medical history, do a pelvic exam, and maybe do imaging tests.
There is no cure, but treatments help with pain and infertility. They include pain medicines, hormone treatments, and surgery.