Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus is found outside of the uterus, usually somewhere in the pelvic cavity. This tissue can lead to chronic inflammation and is linked to pain and infertility. There are treatments, but there is no cure. We do not know what causes endometriosis, but it does seem to run in families.
What’s it like to live with endometriosis?
For some people, the symptoms of endometriosis can be managed by taking medication such as birth control pills. For others, endometriosis causes debilitating pain that causes missed school/work and greatly affects the quality of life. Individuals may need to try multiple medications to find a treatment that works for them without too many side effects. Some people have multiple surgeries to try and treat the disease. Endometriosis is also linked to fertility problems.
Who has endometriosis?
About 1 in 10 women have endometriosis. That’s around 175 million women worldwide. You may have heard about endometriosis in the news because several celebrities (Padma Lakshmi, Lena Dunham, and Halsey, to name a few) have shared their stories in recent years. You probably also have friends or family members who have endometriosis, although you may not be aware of it.
Why don’t we know more about it?
In the past, endometriosis research has not been funded well. That makes it hard for researchers to answer important questions, like “what causes endometriosis?” and “why does treatment work for some people and not others?” In recent years, additional federal funding was awarded to researchers to try to answer these questions. There are now researchers all over the world working every day to find answers.