Endometriosis is one of the most common gynecological disorders, affecting more than 5 million women in the United States.

Normally, endometrial tissue builds up in the uterus and sheds monthly during your period. Sometimes, the tissue grows outside the uterus (including in the ovaries, fallopian tubes and lining of the pelvis). This tissue acts like normal endometrial tissue and breaks down and bleeds monthly. But because it’s outside the uterus, it has no way to leave your body. The trapped tissue can form cysts, lesions and fibroid tissue, which can cause pain.


  • Painful periods, including pain and cramping in your abdomen and lower back
  • Pain with intercourse
  • Pain with bowel movements or urination, particularly during your period
  • Excessive bleeding during or between periods
  • Infertility
  • Fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, nausea


  • Hormones, released by the ovaries, can stimulate irregular endometrial growth
  • Retrograde menstruation (menstrual blood containing endometrial cells flows back through the fallopian tubes and into the pelvic cavity instead of out of the body.)

Endometriosis can be mistaken for other conditions that cause pelvic pain, including pelvic inflammatory disease or ovarian cysts – or it may be confused with irritable bowel syndrome that causes bouts of diarrhea, constipation and cramping.

If you experience symptoms of endometriosis, you should visit an OB/GYN physician for a physical exam. You may undergo some tests so the best treatment can be determined.


Although there’s no cure for endometriosis, its symptoms can be treated with pain medications or hormones. In some cases, your condition can be relieved by surgery.

Hartford Hospital’s Women’s Health Services has a dedicated, compassionate team with the skill; experience; and latest treatments, technology and research to treat endometriosis so you can manage your daily life without discomfort.

Women's Health Services


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