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6 Facts about Endometriosis

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at WPUNJ chapter.


Endometriosis is a disease that is not discussed much, but it is more common (and more important) than you might think.

‘What is endometriosis?’ you might ask. It is a disease in which the tissue lining the uterus grows outside of the uterus and on other organs, and according to the Endometriosis Research Center, it affects an estimated 176 million women around the world, regardless of social and ethnic background. Still, many women remain undiagnosed because they are unaware of the disease. In addition to being Women’s History Month, March is also Endometriosis Awareness Month. Both are important in highlighting women’s issues, so Her Campus WPUNJ has decided that it’s the perfect time to present 6 facts on the often misunderstood disease known as endometriosis.

  1. Endometriosis comes from the word endometrium, the tissue that lines the uterus or womb. Endometriosis occurs when this tissue is growing outside of the uterus on other organs or structures such as the ovaries and the fallopian tubes. In rare cases, endometriosis can even be found on organs outside of the reproductive system, such as the lungs or the skin.
  2. One of the biggest misconceptions about endometriosis is that it is just painful cramps and that it is normal for women to get during their menstrual periods. Although it is common for women to get cramps during the menstrual periods, these cramps can be treated with over-the-counter medicine. Women who suffer from endometriosis receive very painful cramps that can get worse over time. Other symptoms of endometriosis include: chronic pain in the lower back and pelvis, painful urination or bowel movements during menstrual periods, diarrhea, constipation, bloating or nausea (especially during periods), infertility or not being able to get pregnant, and fatigue.
  3. Endometriosis is one of the most common health problems for women. More than five million women have the disease in the United States alone. It usually occurs in women in their 30s and 40s; however, it can also be found in younger women and teens.
  4. There is no known cause of endometriosis, though there are several theories as to what causes the disease. One theory suggests that dioxin exposure cause endometriosis. Dioxin is a toxic chemical from the making of pesticides and the burning of wastes. Another theory suggests that endometriosis is genetic, so if a woman has a mother or relative with the disease, she is likely to develop the disease at some point in her life.
  5. There is no way to prevent or lower your chances of getting endometriosis. However, according to womenshealth.gov, the hormone estrogen is involved in thickening of the lining of the uterus during the menstrual period. Tips on how to lower estrogen level in your body include avoiding large amounts of caffeinated drinks and alcohol and exercising regularly.
  6. There is no cure for endometriosis, but there are various treatment options available:  Doctors may suggest taking over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen (typically known as Advil and Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve) for women with mild symptoms. There are also hormone treatments which include birth control pills and danazol, a weak male hormone that lowers estrogen in the body. Danazol may stop a women’s period or make it come less often (however, this treatment can have serious side effects). Surgery is an option for women with severe endometriosis. This includes laparoscopy, a surgery in which doctors remove growths and scar tissue or burn them away. The goal of this procedure is to treat endometriosis without harming healthy tissues. There is also hysterectomy, in which the doctor removes the uterus and ovaries from the body. This surgery is usually used as a last resort as you cannot get pregnant once you have this surgical procedure.


Endometriosis is a disease that affects millions of women around the world and can cause all sorts of problems from chronic pelvic pain to cysts to infertility. There needs to be more dialogue between women and health care professionals regarding this disease. Endometriosis should not be kept quiet; it is nothing to be ashamed of.  And in light of March being both Women’s History Month and Endometriosis Awareness Month, Her Campus WPUNJ wants to remind all of you and your mothers, your sisters, your friends, to please get checked and treated.


For more information about endometriosis, see the following:

Womens Health.gov

Endometriosis Research Center

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development


Danielle Brantley is a senior at William Paterson University in Wayne, NJ. She is a Marketing major with minors in Social Justice Studies and Psychology. Danielle is a contributing writer for Her Campus WPUNJ as it finally launched in March 2013. She also works for Information Systems at WPUNJ as a Technology Consultant and for the First-Year Experience office as a Peer Leader. She has also written for The Beacon, WPU's student-run publication. Danielle enjoys writing, shopping, listening to music, and watching YouTube.
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