The Explainer: Endometriosis

Updated
Picture of Laura McDermott

Curated by Laura McDermott

Millions of people are impacted by endometriosis, worldwide. Have you heard of this debilitating illness?

  • Endometriosis is a condition, in which the tissue that usually grows inside the uterus starts growing around other parts of the body - such as the intestines or the ovaries.
  • The disease impacts around 1 in 10 women of childbearing age; for some, the symptoms are highly debilitating, whilst others experience little pain. There is no definitive explanation or cure yet.
  • During the second half of the menstrual cycle, a thick lining known as the endometrium grows within the uterus. People with endometriosis have a similar type of tissue growing outside the uterus.
  • This tissue, like the endometrial tissue, is linked to the menstrual cycle. Overtime, those with the illness can build up internal scar tissue, which can cause severe pain.
  • Studies have found that there is an average delay in the diagnosis of endometriosis of between 8 and 12 years. Endometriosis can also impact people who do not identify as women - e.g. trans men.
  • Due to limited funding, there isn’t a definitive treatment and the future is largely unknown for those with endometriosis. As with many reproductive diseases more financing is desperately needed.
Articles from 4 publishers

4 articles on this topic

BBC

What is endometriosis?

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News
7 min read
Business Insider

What endometriosis feels like: First-person accounts from people who live with and manage the condition

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News
6 min read
The Conversation

Endometriosis: pandemic backlog risks making it even harder for women to get help

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News
3 min read
Vice

Treating Endometriosis as a Women's Disease Hurts Patients of All Genders

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News
8 min read