What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis affects 10% of adult women (assigned as female at birth).

It is a long term condition where tissue similar to the one of the lining of the womb grows outside the womb and more commonly in the pelvis. This tissue responds to the hormones produced by the ovary during the cycle.

Endometriosis can affect women from puberty to menopause, although the impact may be felt for life.

Common Symptoms are:

  • Painful periods
  • Pain during or after sex
  • Infertility
  • Painful bowel movements

All of the symptoms above may have other causes and may not necessarily be endometriosis symptoms and as many as 35% of women are asymptomatic. Because endometriosis shares symptoms with other conditions, diagnosis can be difficult.

A diagnosis is suspected based on symptoms, ultrasound and MRI imaging and can only be confirmed at laparoscopy.

Treatments range from painkillers, hormonal contraceptive or other hormonal treatments and surgery.


Endometriosis does not necessarily cause infertility but there is an association with fertility problems. Even women with severe endometriosis can have natural conception.

As many as 60-70% of women with endometriosis achieves a spontaneous pregnancy.

Quality of life

Quality of life can be negatively affected by endometriosis and getting the right emotional support is essential. Support from family and partner may help in the long term.

Psychologists and counsellors can offer professional help to cope with chronic pain, infertility, and frustration that often accompany this disease.

Erika Manzo, Consultant at North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust (pictured right), is an endometrosis specialist.

Ms Manzo says: "At our Trust, we carry out scans and MRIs to diagnose patients and we have advanced laparoscopic surgery facilities to help treat the condition.  

"We also carry out fertility assessments which include ultrasound scans of the fallopian tubes."

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Erika Manzo