Endometriosis is a leading cause of chronic pelvic pain in teenage girls and women. It is defined as the presence of endometrial-like tissue (tissue that is similar to the lining of the womb) present outside the uterus. Areas of endometriosis are associated with an ongoing inflammatory response mediated by changes in hormone levels. The affected tissue can involve the reproductive organs, the intestines, bladder and peritoneum (the thin, sensitive lining of the pelvic cavity).
Endometriosis is characterized by debilitating pelvic pain that often worsens during menstruation, painful intercourse, pain with bowel movements and urination, and infertility. It is a condition that can have a dramatic effect on all aspects of a girl or woman’s quality of life. Sadly, sufferers of endometriosis typically struggle with pain for years before being offered a diagnosis, and the quality of care provided to patients with the disease is often sadly lacking.