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What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a condition that affect that affects upward of 15% of women of reproductive age. This is a condition where the cells that sit inside the lining of the womb (‘the endometrium”) moves outside womb lining. These “endometriotic cells” can occur anywhere in the abdomen, the bladder, the bowel and even as high as the diaphragm and lungs. When endometriosis occurs on the ovary – they often form cysts that are called endometriomas (“chocolate cysts”). When endometriosis occurs in the muscle of the womb, it is called adenomyosis.


What causes Endometriosis?

We do not know exactly why endometriosis occurs. There certainly seems to be some familial associations as this condition often runs in families. We also see derangements in the hormonal, immune and metabolic systems of individuals that have endometriosis. The more we know about endometriosis, the more complex we realise it is.

Endometriosis Symptoms and Signs

The two hallmark features of endometriosis are pain and infertility.

Pain in endometriosis is very common. Endometriotic cells outside the uterus behave similarly to the cells in the lining of the womb. That is they grow, shed and bleed. This explains why the pain is initially worse during a period. Eventually the pain becomes chronic and our threshold for pain decreases and this results in ongoing pain not related to a period.

Endometriosis causes chronic inflammation, and this can affect fertility in many ways. It negatively affects the quality of one’s eggs. Pain decreases the desire to be intimate with one’s partner. Chronic inflammation causes scarring of the abdominal organs including scarring of the fallopian tubes. Hormonal imbalances also affect the way an embryo tries to implant in the womb. All of this leads to dropping fertility in those who suffer from endometriosis. Pain is often but not always present in those with endometriosis and fertility issues.

Endometriosis Diagnosis

There is no one way to definitively diagnose endometriosis. The gold standard is a key-hole procedure called a laparoscopy. This involves a general anaesthetic and requires post operative recovery. Often, diagnosis is made using a combination of clinical assessment and specialised ultrasound.

Endometriosis Treatment

Endometriosis is a complex chronic condition. It’s treatment must be tailored to each individual’s goals. There are certain medications that can be used to control pain. Certain hormones can modulate disease progression. Surgery is often useful in sufferers who have severe pain. For those suffering from endometriosis related infertility, a combination of IVF +/- surgery is often useful.


Consulting Rooms:

Suite 204, 31 Dora St
Hurstville NSW 2220

Level 3, 321 Kent St
Sydney NSW 2000

656 Pacific Highway
Chatswood NSW 2067


T: 1300 323 297
F: 02 8212 8944

Dr Ying Li

Specialist in Fertility & Reproductive Endocrinology
Gynaecology & Endoscopic Surgery

Practice Locations

  • Level 3, 321 Kent St
    Sydney NSW 2000


  • 137 St Johns Rd,
    Glebe, NSW 2037


  • 50-52 Gloucester Rd,
    Hurstville NSW 2220


Phone: 1300 323 297
Fax: 02 8212 8944

Dr Ying Li © 2024. All Rights Reserved.