If you have endometriosis, you’re not alone. About one in every 10 women is affected by it. The condition often affects women of a childbearing age and usually disappears after the menopause.

Normally, as part of the menstrual cycle, your womb lining will thicken to receive a fertilised egg. When an egg is released and isn’t fertilised (if you don’t get pregnant), the lining of your womb will break down. It will leave your body as menstrual blood (a period). This process is controlled by your body’s hormones.

In endometriosis, you have cells that would normally line your womb (endometrial tissue) elsewhere in your body. This tissue will also thicken and break down with your menstrual cycle, but it has no way of leaving your body. This can lead to pain, swelling and scarring. If you have endometriosis on your fallopian tubes or ovaries, it can lead to fertility problems.

Endometriosis is most common on your ovaries, fallopian tubes and the tissues that hold your womb in place. You can also get it on or around other organs in your pelvis and abdomen (tummy), such as your vagina, bladder or bowel. Rarely, endometriosis can occur in other places such as your lungs or breast.

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Endometriosis