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Health Condition

Endometriosis

About This Condition

Endometriosis is a progressive and chronic condition in which endometrial tissue (the inner lining of the uterus that is shed each month during menses) is found outside of the uterus and implanted within the pelvic cavity.

Endometriosis is believed to affect as many as 10% of all women in the United States and is the third leading cause of gynecologic hospitalization and a leading cause of hysterectomy.1 Although many theories exist, the cause of endometriosis is unclear. However, there does appear to be a genetic link—women who have a mother or sister with endometriosis are more likely to develop this condition.

Symptoms

Women with endometriosis may have symptoms including pain before and during menstrual periods, pain with sexual intercourse, abdominal bloating, pain during urination or bowel movements, pelvic tenderness, premenstrual spotting, abnormally heavy or long menstrual periods, rectal bleeding during menstrual periods, and an inability to become pregnant.

Other Therapies

Surgical treatments, such as removal of the endometrial areas, ovaries, or uterus may also be recommended.

References

1. Eskenazi B, Warner ML. Epidemiology of endometriosis. Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am 1997;24:235-58 [review].

2. Santanam N, Kavtaradze N, Murphy A, et al. Antioxidant supplementation reduces endometriosis-related pelvic pain in humans. Transl Res 2013;161:189-95.

3. Yano Y. Effect of dietary supplementation with eicosapentaenoic acid on surgically induced endometriosis in the rabbit. Nippon Sanka Fujinka Gakkai Zasshi 1992 Mar;44(3):282-8 [in Japanese].

4. Covens AL, Christopher P, Casper RF. The effect of dietary supplementation with fish oil fatty acids on surgically induced endometriosis in the rabbit. Fertil Steril 1988;49:698-703.

5. Harel Z, Biro FM, Kottenhahn RK, Rosenthal SL. Supplementation with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in the management of dysmenorrhea in adolescents. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1996;174:1335-8.

6. Kohama T, Herai K, Inoue M. Effect of French maritime pine bark extract on endometriosis as compared with leuprorelin acetate. J Reprod Med 2007;52:703-8.

7. Batchelder HJ, Hudson T, Lewin A, et al. Therapeutic approaches to endometriosis. The Protocol Journal of Botanical Medicine 1996;Spring:25-60.

8. Hudson T. Women's Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. Los Angeles: Keats Publishing, 1999:79-88.

9. Sliutz G, Speiser P, Schultz AM, et al. Agnus castus extracts inhibit prolactin secretion of rat pituitary cells. Horm Metab Res 1993;25:253-5.

10. Lauritzen C, Reuter HD, Repges R, et al. Treatment of premenstrual tension syndrome with Vitex agnus-castus. Controlled, double-blind study versus pyridoxine. Phytomedicine 1997;4:183-9.

11. Whitney ML. Importance of lay organizations for coping with endometriosis. J Reprod Med 1998;43(3 Suppl):331-4.

12. Wingfield MB, Wood C, Henderson LS, Wood RM. Treatment of endometriosis involving a self-help group positively affects patients' perception of care. J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol 1997;18:255-8.

13. Maciocia, G. Obstetrics and Gynecology in Chinese Medicine. New York: Churchill Livingstone, 1998:691-733.

14. Gerhard I, Postneek F. Auricular acupuncture in the treatment of female infertility. Gynecol Endocrinol 1992;6:171-81.

15. Grodstein F, Goldman MB, Ryan L, Cramer DW. Relation of female infertility to consumption of caffeinated beverages. Am J Epidemiol 1993;137:1353-60.

16. Cramer DW, Wilson E, Stillman RJ, et al. The relation of endometriosis to menstrual characteristics, smoking, and exercise. JAMA 1986;255:1904-8.

17. Signorello LB, Harlow BL, Cramer DW, et al. Epidemiologic determinants of endometriosis: a hospital-based case-control study. Ann Epidemiol 1997;7:267-74.

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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2018.