What is endometriosis? Endometriosis is the abnormal growth of endometrial, or uterine lining, tissue in areas other than the uterine lining, such as on the ovaries, in the fallopian tubes, the pelvic lining, or on the intestines. Less commonly, endometriosis may develop at other distant locations anywhere in the body. This condition affects 10% of all premenopausal females and 25% of infertile women. The cause of endometriosis is not completely understood, but it may be a result of the endometrial cells going in the reverse direction, backing up through the fallopian tube and into the pelvis. It is also possible that factors related to the immune system play a role in its development or that endometrial tissue develops in abnormal locations in affected women. Endometriosis is most common in women between the ages of 25 and 35. It also has a strong familial link. If your sister or mother has the condition, then you are approximately five to six times more likely to develop it (Source: NIH). The symptoms of endometriosis may occur frequently or not at all. Some women with endometriosis do not have symptoms, while others experience pain and prolonged vaginal bleeding during menstruation. The pain can be cyclical and can occur during sexual activity (dyspareunia). The symptoms may occur during menstruation or up to 10 days before or after a woman’s menstrual period. Treatment options range from medications to surgical procedures. The severity of symptoms, location of the endometriosis, and age of the woman are considered when making the appropriate decision for treatment. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) for serious symptoms, such as severe abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, or inability to urinate or have a bowel movement. Seek prompt medical care if you are being treated for endometriosis but mild symptoms recur or are persistent, or if you experience blood in the urine or difficulty urinating.