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Endometriosis facts

Endometriosis facts – history

The presence of endometrial tissue outside the uterus was first reported about 300 years ago in 1696 by Sabiard. However, since the turn of the century, and especially in the 1920s, it has been known that endometrial tissue outside of the uterus is responsible for painful menstruation, pelvic pain, pain with intercourse and infertility.
Our modern-day understanding of endometriosis began with the pioneering efforts of a private physician named Sampson in Albany, New York, in the 1920s. Dr. Sampson proposed that the menstrual backflow through the tubes contained viable endometrial cells which could be transplanted to ectopic sites.The fact that we have been hearing more about endometriosis in the past two or three decades is due to more awareness by the public and physicians about the condition as well as due to modern diagnostics.

Endometriosis facts – population

In literature, the prevalence of Endometriosis in the general population has been reported to be about 5% of the female population of reproductive age. However, in women with severe menstrual cramps, the incidence of endometriosis has been reported to be between 25%-35%.

Endometriosis facts – age

Endometriosis has been reported only in the reproductive ages, which means right after the start of the menstrual cycle until menopause or immediate post-menopausal years.
Ovarian function is necessary for the development and maintenance of these endometrial implants. Endometriosis is normally not seen before age 15 or after menopause.

Endometriosis in America

At least 5.5 million women in North America alone have endometriosis.
10%-20% of American women of childbearing age have endometriosis (NIDCD); which means approximately 1 in 20 persons or 5.00% or 13.6 million people in USA.

Endometriosis and infertility

About 30%-40% of women with endometriosis are infertile, making it one of the top three causes for female infertility. Endometriosis is one of the most common gynecological diseases. The two most common symptoms of endometriosis are pain and infertility.

Endometriosis and cancer

Current research does not prove an association between endometriosis and endometrial, cervical, uterine, or ovarian cancers. In very rare cases (less than 1 percent) endometriosis is seen with a certain type of cancer, called endometrioid cancer; but, endometriosis is not known to cause this cancer.

Endometriosis in UK

Up to 2 million women in the UK are suffering from Endometriosis.


Endometriosis facts – locations

Most endometriosis is found in the pelvic cavity:

  • On or under the ovaries
  • Behind the uterus
  • On the tissues that hold the uterus in place
  • On the bowels or bladder

In extremely rare cases, endometriosis areas can grow in the lungs or other parts of the body.

Endometriosis and genetic

Several studies have shown that the incidence of endometriosis is much higher in women having a sister or mother who has already had endometriosis.

Endometriosis frequency and sex during menses (period)

It has been suggested that intercourse during menses might increase tubal activity and increase the backflow of the menstrual cycle through the tubes and thus increase the risk of endometriosis. However, there are no statistics to bear this out.

Endometriosis facts – race

There seems to be some evidence among researchers that Caucasian women are at greater risk than blacks. Two studies have found the prevalence of endometriosis in blacks to be half that of whites. However, the notion that black women rarely suffer from endometriosis is incorrect. Some data shows that the risk of disease among Asian women is even higher than in Caucasians. There are also several studies which suggest that this disease is more common among higher socio-economic groups of women.

Endometriosis and menstrual cramps

It has been shown that the chance of having endometriosis is four times greater in patients with severe menstrual cramps as compared to women with mild menstrual cramps.

Endometriosis and menstrual cycle

Many studies have shown that women with endometriosis begin their menstrual cycle at a significantly younger age than women without the condition.

Endometriosis is more prevalent in women who have a regular cycle than in women who have an irregular cycle.

Patients with endometriosis have a shorter interval between their periods (less than 27 days).

Severe menstrual cramps are also seen much more frequently in endometriosis.

Patients with a prolonged menstrual flow are apt to have endometriosis. It has also been found that if the menstrual flow is longer than a week, the risk of developing endometriosis is 2.5 times greater than in women who have a menstrual flow lasting less than a week.
Women with a greater number of menstrual days (a factor of days of flow and cycle interval) had twice the risk of developing endometriosis.

Endometriosis and pregnancy

This theory first surfaced in the early 1950s along with the idea that early childbearing offered protection against endometriosis. Although the incidence of endometriosis is higher in women who delay having their first child, this may be because of the fact that endometriosis causes infertility. It is therefore difficult to distinguish whether the infertility preceded or followed the endometriosis. Most scientists believe, however, that pregnancy does have a protective effect on women with endometriosis.

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