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Endometriosis
(GY006)

Introduction


Endometriosis is characterized by the presence of endometrial tissue (tissue that lines the uterus) outside of the uterine cavity (ectopic). The areas most commonly affected are the ovaries and fallopian tubes, however, "endometrial implants" have been found in most organ systems of the female body, with the exception of the heart and the spleen. Commonly affected areas include the vagina, the vulva, the urinary system, and the gastrointestinal tract. More rarely affected are the lungs and diaphragm, the skin and the central nervous system.

Endometriosis is a progressive disease affecting approximately 10-15% of women, usually of childbearing age. Women are usually 25 to 29 years of age at the time of diagnosis especially if the primary symptom is pain. Women whose symptoms are related to infertility may not be diagnosed until later.

The cause of endometriosis is not well understood but there are several theories to explain its development.

Treatment goals and decisions are dictated by the woman's desire for reproduction. The goals of care for a woman who desires pregnancy (currently or in the future) are to preserve reproductive function. The goal for a woman who has completed childbearing is the minimization of discomfort and prevention of further complications.

Treatment methods include medications and surgery.

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This MediFocus Guide contains an extensive listing of citations and abstracts of recent journal articles that have been published about this condition in trustworthy medical journals. This is the same type of information that is available to physicians and other health care professionals. A partial selection of journal articles that are abstracted in this MediFocus Guide includes:


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