Understanding endometriosis

Endometriosis is a disease that affects women’s reproductive system, causing discomfort, heavy bleeding, and, in extreme cases, loss of fertility.


On this page, we explain a little more about this misunderstood disease.

What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a disease of the female reproductive system in which tissues similar to the lining of the uterus (endometrium) grow outside the uterus, affecting the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or intestines, among others.

In this disorder, the endometrial tissue behaves the same inside and outside the uterus, thickening during your menstrual cycle and breaking down to cause bleeding. The biggest difference is that, being outside your uterus, the tissue cannot come out through the vagina like menstrual bleeding can.

Over time, abnormal endometrial tissue can cause wounds and irritation to the surrounding tissue, causing lesions known as adhesions or scar tissue. Additionally, it can develop into cysts on the ovaries, known as endometriomas.

In severe cases of endometriosis, the organs in the pelvic area can “stick” to each other.

Main causes and symptoms of endometriosis

Why some women generate endometrial tissue outside the uterus is unknown. However, some possible causes are suspected:

Retrograde menstruation

During healthy menstruation, endometrial tissue is expelled from the body through the vagina. On the other hand, in retrograde menstruation, blood (with endometrial cells) rises to the fallopian tubes. When it isn’t eliminated, this tissue remains in the areas adjacent to the uterus.

Peritoneal cells

Another possible explanation for endometriosis is the influence of hormones or immune factors on the cells that line the abdomen. It is thought that hormones can make these cells resemble uterine cells.

Scar tissue

In the case of abdominal surgery, endometrial tissue may adhere during the healing process.

entendiendo la endometriosis

Endometriosis causes many discomforts, including:

  • Painful periods, including belly, back and even stomach pain. The pain may begin before the menstrual period and last for days.
  • Excessive bleeding, either during the menstrual period or between periods.
  • Pain during or after sex due to inflammation and damage to internal tissues.
  • Pain when going to the bathroom, due to the pressure exerted in the area.
  • Gastrointestinal disorders such as bloating, nausea, or constipation.
  • Fatigue.

How to detect endometriosis

Unfortunately, in many cases, endometriosis symptoms are confused with other conditions or simply blamed on the menstrual period. However, your diagnosis and well-being depend on the relationship of trust you develop with your medical team.

At Panama Fertility, we have more than three decades of experience in gynecology and fertility. We dedicate ourselves to your care with the greatest attention so that you feel safe and confident at every step.

Although there is no definitive cure, early detection of endometriosis is essential in its control. Endometriosis is usually detected using a combination of techniques. First, your medical team will evaluate your medical history. Additionally, you will perform evaluations such as a pelvic exam, ultrasound, or even MRIs.

In some cases, exploratory surgery known as laparoscopy may need to be performed.

The impact of endometriosis on fertility

Not all cases of endometriosis end in infertility. In more severe cases of endometriosis, the buildup of scar tissue can block the fallopian tubes, decreasing the chance of conceiving a baby.

In other cases, the inflammation generated by the abnormal tissue can negatively affect the function of the fallopian tubes, making pregnancy difficult. Additionally, hormonal changes can influence ovulation.
Don't be discouraged! It is possible to achieve a healthy pregnancy even with endometriosis.

A diagnosis of endometriosis is not a sentence to your fertility. Schedule an appointment with our experts to learn more about your condition and evaluate an action plan.