Endometriosis

endometriosis (ĕn´dəmē´trē-ō´sĬs), a condition in which small pieces of the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) migrate to other places in the pelvic area. The endometrial fragments may move to the fallopian tubes, ovaries, or other pelvic structures (e.g., the bladder or rectum). The migrated tissue retains its character and changes with the fluctuations of the menstrual cycle, bleeding at the time of menstruation. The blood becomes trapped in cysts that can grow from the size of a pinhead to the size of a grapefruit. Symptoms of endometriosis can be absent or can include painful menstruation, severe abdominal or low back pain, painful intercourse, and rectal bleeding at the time of menstruation. Symptoms often disappear with pregnancy, but 30%–40% of women who have endometriosis are infertile.

The cause of endometriosis is unknown. One hypothesis is that the endometrial fragments move back up through the fallopian tubes rather than leaving the body with the menstrual flow. Diagnosis is by pelvic examination or laparoscopy. Treatment, which depends on the severity of the disease, may include a course of oral contraceptives, or danazol if the patient is trying to conceive. In severe cases surgical removal of the cysts or hysterectomy may be performed.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Explaining Endometriosis
Lorraine Henderson; Ros Wood.
Allen & Unwin, 2000 (2nd edition)
You Don't Need a Hysterectomy: New and Effective Ways of Avoiding Major Surgery
Ivan K. Strausz.
Perseus Books, 2001
Librarian’s tip: "Endometriosis -- What Is It?" begins on p. 124
Endometriosis: Painful, but Treatable
Farley, Dixie.
FDA Consumer, Vol. 27, No. 1, January-February 1993
Do You Really Need Surgery? A Sensible Guide to Hysterectomy and Other Procedures for Women
Michele C. Moore; Caroline M. de Costa.
Rutgers University Press, 2004
Librarian’s tip: "Endometriosis" begins on p. 118
Postponing Parenthood: The Effect of Age on Reproductive Potential
Gale A. Sloan.
Insight Books, 1993
Librarian’s tip: "Endometriosis" begins on p. 78
Dioxins and Endometriosis: A Plausible Hypothesis. (Research Review)
Birnbaum, Linda S.; Cummings, Audrey M.
Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 110, No. 1, January 2002
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Serum Dioxin Concentrations and Endometriosis: A Cohort Study in Seveso, Italy. (Research Articles)
Eskenazi, Brenda; Mocarelli, Paolo; Warner, Marcella; Samuels, Steven; Vercellini, Paolo; Olive, David; Needham, Larry L.; Patterson, Donald G., Jr.; Brambilla, Paolo; Gavoni, Nicoletta; Casalini, Stefania; Panazza, Stefania; Turner, Wayman; Gerthoux, Pier Mario.
Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 110, No. 7, July 2002
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Exposure Assessment to Dioxins from the Use of Tampons and Diapers. (Articles)
De Vito, Michael J.; Schecter, Arnold.
Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 110, No. 1, January 2002
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
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