Endometriosis is an idiopathic condition, meaning there is no known cause. There are also no specific ways to prevent endometriosis.
Endometriosis affects up to 10% of women between the ages of 15 and 44. It most often occurs on or around reproductive organs in the pelvis or abdomen, including:
- Fallopian tubes
- Ligaments around the uterus (uterosacral ligaments)
- Lining of the pelvic cavity
- Outside surface of the uterus
- Space between the uterus and the rectum or bladder
More rarely, it can also grow on and around the:
- Stomach (abdomen)
- Vagina or vulva
Endometrial tissue growing in these areas does not shed during a menstrual cycle like healthy endometrial tissue inside the uterus does. The buildup of abnormal tissue outside the uterus can lead to inflammation, scarring and painful cysts. It can also lead to buildup of fibrous tissues between reproductive organs that causes them to “stick” together.