How Serious is Endometriosis?

“Endometriosis is estimated to affect between 2% & 10% of all women within the general population. Up to 50% of women with infertility have endometriosis. Symptoms can begin prior to a girl’s first period, & for most women, symptoms persist throughout their menstrual life. In a number of cases symptoms persist following the menopause” [1]

Endometriosis is a well known female condition which creates problematic scarring and inflammation in the pelvic cavity tissues. (The female pelvic cavity includes the urinary bladder, uterus and rectum). A large percentage of females experience severe (and often continual) pain due to endometriosis. Furthermore, they may suffer abdominal bloating. In some cases, this condition can run in families [2].

Unfortunately, general practice doctors (GPs), often dismiss endometriosis, as they presume that their patients are simply experiencing painful menstrual cramps. To that end, it is essential to book a visit with an endometriosis specialist. He/she will look at your medical history, conduct a thorough examination, carry out a number of cutting-edge tests, explain everything to you in layman’s terms, and then put you on a personalised endometriosis treatment program.

Will I Be Able to Have a Baby if I Have Endometriosis?

“Endometriosis is one of the leading causes of infertility, however, it is estimated that 60% – 70% of women with endometriosis will conceive, this may increase with the removal of endometriosis & the use of assisted reproductive techniques” [1]

Endometriosis can have a dramatic effect on pregnancy. Indeed, this disease can cause a lot of unwelcome distress for the percentage of women who will find it very hard to become pregnant due to lesions that attack the womb. Yet on a bright note, some patients are delighted to discover that if they do conceive, then their endometriosis symptoms actually decrease while they are carrying their baby. Of note: it is extremely important that endometriosis patients are closely monitored by their endometriosis specialist throughout their pregnancy.

If you are planning to conceive, and are suffering from endometriosis symptoms, then do not delay having a consultation with an endometriosis specialist. That way, once the tests are completed, you will know whether you have the condition or not. If you do have endometriosis, you will be able to start a personalised treatment program as soon as your test results are analysed.

“The majority of endometriosis cases are classed as mild or minimal, meaning that the patient suffers from mild scarring & superficial implants. However, generally speaking, moderate & severe endometriosis generates more serious scarring & cysts. While the stage of endometriosis is not linked to the level of symptoms a patient suffers, infertility is common in those who have stage IV endometriosis”

So What Are the Risk Factors For Endometriosis?

Endometriosis progression is linked to a female’s menstruation throughout the course of her life cycle. A woman’s menses, along with the accompanying alterations in (primarily) oestrogen, as well as other hormone levels, induce endometrial tissue growth in the pelvic cavity. Whenever menstruation is suppressed (generally by the use of oral contraceptives), women gain a form of protection towards endometriosis. If you have your very first period early, or a late menopause, then your risk of developing menstruation increases. Moreover, the latter is also thought to generate the pathway through which endometrial cells exit the uterine cavity (as an element of menstrual blood). These cells/tissues are able to stick to pelvic organ and other tissues as soon as they exit the uterus. It is at this stage that (if the immune system does not respond as it should), they freely build up endometrial deposits, thereby sticking to various areas outside the uterus [2].

What Lifestyle Factors Impact a Woman’s Oestrogen Levels?

A number of factors which have been shown to impact a woman’s levels of oestrogen, are also suspected of influencing the furtherance of endometriosis. These comprise:

•BMI (Body Mass Index): This is a standard measurement of your weight in relation to your height. Women who are obese or overweight, are more inclined to acquire endometriosis.
•Exercise Levels: Women who do very little physical activity, are more inclined to acquire endometriosis.
•Smoking Tobacco: Raises the risk of endometriosis.

How Can I Calculate My BMI?

This system is a simple way to work out your Body Mass Index value, so that you are aware of the weight category you are in, as well as your potential risk for endometriosis and other diseases. It is
your weight (in lbs) TIMES 703 DIVIDED by your height (squared). You can easily google a calculator with metric and imperial options.

BMI Categories

Underweight: below 18.5
Normal healthy weight: between 18.5 & 24.9
Overweight: between 25.0 & 29.9
Obese: between 30.0 & 39.9
Morbidly obese: 40.0 and above


[1]. Endometriosis Foundation of Ireland (2020). “About Endometriosis.”

[2]. The Mayo Clinic (2020).