What is endometriosis?

A woman has endometriosis when the tissue that normally lines her uterus, the endometrium, grows in other places, such as the fallopian tubes, ovaries or pelvic tissue. This misplaced tissue can cause serious pelvic pain or painful menstrual periods.

When endometrium, the normal lining of the uterus, grows in other places, it continues its normal menstrual duties of thickening, breaking down and bleeding away each month. Since there is nowhere for this blood to go, it stays trapped in the body, and this can cause painful cysts and scar tissue. Endometriosis affects an estimated 5.5 million women in North America. 

Without treatment, endometriosis can lead to infertility. Thirty to 40 percent of women with endometriosis are infertile. Adolescents can be treated so they so don't develop infertility.

How we care for endometriosis

The Division of Gynecology at Boston Children's Hospital, provides expert medical care, special health education programs and a wealth of information to young women who may be dealing with endometriosis. Pelvic pain and painful menstruation can be distressing for teens, and we provide counseling and special health education programs, including supervised online chats.