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Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a condition where cells similar to those that line the uterus are found in other parts of the body, mainly in the pelvis and reproductive organs. This condition can cause mild to severe pain and may affect your fertility.

Endometriosis affects about one in seven women of reproductive age. 

Learn more about endometriosis, including the symptoms, causes and treatments.

Endometriosis is a condition where cells similar to those that line the uterus grow in other areas of your body, especially around your ovaries and uterus. This condition affects about one in seven women of women of reproductive age. Learn more about endometriosis symptoms, causes and complications. Read more
It can take time to get a diagnosis of endometriosis. The average time to get a diagnosis is seven years. This is because symptoms vary between women, and symptoms can change over time. Also, period pain is often accepted as normal. Some women have asymptomatic endometriosis, which means they don’t experience infertility or common symptoms such as pelvic pain. In these cases, the condition may be found during an unrelated operation. A thorough review of your symptoms, medical history and test results will improve your chances of an early diagnosis. When endometriosis symptoms are acknowledged and treated, most women with the condition do well. Learn more about how endometriosis is diagnosed and when to see your doctor. Read more
Most women have good long-term outcomes when they have an early referral to a women's health clinic and receive care from a medical team with specialist training in endometriosis. For example, doctors, gynaecologists, surgeons with advanced laparoscopy skills, and pelvic floor physiotherapists. Treatment may include pain-relief medicines, hormone therapy, non-hormone treatments, surgery and combined treatments. Ask your doctor or specialists about the best treatments for you. Some women who have endometriosis also have persistent pelvic pain (PPP). PPP is pain in your pelvis that's felt most days and lasts for more than six months. If your pain is like this, you can read more about PPP, including how it develops, where you can get help, and what you can do to manage your pain. Read more
Many women in Australia with endometriosis use natural and complementary therapies to manage their symptoms and improve quality of life. Research shows that women with endometriosis are more likely to use natural therapies, or see a natural therapist, compared to women who do not have endometriosis. With endometriosis, natural therapies are often used to help manage a particular symptom, such as period pain or fertility issues. Treatment may also focus on typical features of the condition; for example, inflammation. Despite the popular use of natural therapies in endometriosis management – and the many remedies and treatments promoted for the condition – there is unfortunately a lack of good quality research in the area. Well-designed and larger studies are needed before any firm conclusions can be drawn as to whether or not these natural therapies are effective in managing the complex and varied condition of endometriosis. Read more
Endometriosis may also impact your fertility and plans to become pregnant. Many women with endometriosis will become pregnant without any medical help. But 30–50% of of women with endometriosis find it hard to get pregnant. This may be due to things like scarring of the fallopian tubes and ovaries, or changes to pelvic organs. Having endometriosis and problems with fertility may make you feel worried, angry or depressed. You can talk to your doctor, counsellor or psychologist about how to deal with the diagnosis and decide what to do next. Read more
Endometriosis can affect your physical health and emotional wellbeing. It may also impact your relationships and sexual desire. It’s important to remember you’re not alone. It can be hard to talk about endometriosis and how it affects you. But when people in your life understand the condition, they are better able to support you through your ups and downs. Read more

This con­tent has been reviewed by a group of med­ical sub­ject mat­ter experts, in accor­dance with Jean Hailes pol­i­cy.