This endometrial tissue can be found in the ovaries and fallopian tubes, or even in the stomach, bladder, bowels and other parts of the digestive tract. It is less common in post-menopausal women than it is in women of childbearing age.
The causes of endometriosis are not known, although it is thought to be related to genetics, immune system problems, the spread of endometrial cells via the lymphatic system, or retrograde menstruation (when the lining of the womb flows upwards and becomes embedded in the pelvis).
Symptoms of endometriosis include severe period pain and pelvic pain (during your period or throughout the month of your cycle), heavy bleeding, pain during or after sex, rectal bleeding, and fatigue. The pain and chronic nature of endometriosis, which can interfere with daily life, can in some cases cause depression. Infertility is the main complications of endometriosis. Many other conditions may present with similar symptoms, which is why it is important to speak to a specialist doctor.
Diagnosis may include laparoscopy, which allows the doctor to see patches of endometrial tissue inside the body. Once diagnosed, treatment options include anti-inflammatory painkillers, hormone-based treatments, or minor surgical procedures to remove patches of endometrial tissue.
There is currently no absolute cure for endometriosis, but with appropriate treatment, the symptoms can be lessened, and surgery to remove endometrial tissue can help to improve the likelihood of getting pregnant.
What to do next
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The only way to know for sure is to see a doctor. The most common symptoms of polycystic ovaries are irregular periods, and hirsutism (excess facial or body hair).
Weight gain can affect the production of insulin. Women with PCOS typically already have a resistance to the action of insulin, which means that overall insulin levels will be much higher in a woman who is both overweight and has PCOS.
If untreated, polycystic ovarian syndrome can lead to a higher risk of other health problems such as high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes.