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Endometriosis is a chronic but benign disorder that occurs in women of fertile age. In endometriosis, tissue similar to the uterine lining (endometrium) attaches to one or more organs. For example, endometriosis can occur in the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries, as well as the peritoneum, intestine and bladder. These areas of tissue, which may be called endometriosis tissue, grow and may bleed, causing inflammation of the tissue and eventually scar tissue to form. These tissue changes make fertilisation and attachment of the fertilised egg difficult.

What are the causes of endometriosis?  

The causes of endometriosis are not clearly understood. There are different theories about how the tissue changes occur. These include: 

  • Parts of the uterine lining are carried into the genital organs as the menstrual blood flows backwards (retrograde menstruation) 

  • Parts of the uterine lining are carried out through the blood and lymphatic vessels  

  • Genetic factors that trigger tissue changes 

  • Malfunction of the immune system 

  • Environmental influences, especially pollutants such as PCBs, DDT and dioxins, which affect the endocrine system 

Because of the variety of symptoms and the complex course of endometriosis, it is reasonable to believe that there is no single cause for the condition to occur. Rather, it is thought that a combination of factors causes the condition.   

How is endometriosis treated?

For infertility patients with endometriosis, there are two basic treatment options. For mild endometriosis and tubal passage, insemination is possible. For severe endometriosis and/or blocked fallopian tubes, we perform IVF. In some women, surgery is necessary to remove all visible endometriosis tissue. Before removing the endometriosis tissue, a thorough diagnostic test is carried out, typically consisting of a microscopic examination. If endometriosis is found, the operation must be carried out in a gynaecology department with expertise in endometriosis.   

Endometriosis - Facts and figures 

  • It is estimated that 7-15% of women of childbearing age have endometriosis, many without a diagnosis.  

  • It is estimated that 40,000 new cases of endometriosis occur each year.  

  • Often, endometriosis is not detected for a long time. On average, it takes six years from the first symptoms to a diagnosis.  

  • Endometriosis patients are divided into infertile patients, whose fertility is impaired by the disease, and pain patients, who are not infertile but suffer from the physical symptoms of the disease. 

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