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Endometriosis: Pathogenesis, clinical features, and diagnosis

Robert S Schenken, MD
Section Editor
Robert L Barbieri, MD
Deputy Editor
Kristen Eckler, MD, FACOG


Endometriosis is defined as endometrial glands and stroma that occur outside the uterine cavity. The lesions are typically located in the pelvis but can occur at multiple sites including the bowel, diaphragm, and pleural cavity. While endometriosis is a common and nonmalignant process, ectopic endometrial tissue and resultant inflammation can cause dysmenorrhea, dyspareunia, chronic pain, and infertility. Symptoms can range from minimal to severely debilitating. Endometriosis is an estrogen-dependent, benign, inflammatory disease that affects women during their premenarcheal, reproductive, and postmenopausal hormonal stages.

This topic will review the clinical presentation and diagnosis of endometriosis. Information on the treatment of endometriosis is presented separately.

(See "Endometriosis: Treatment of pelvic pain".)

(See "Endometriosis: Surgical management of pelvic pain".)

(See "Endometriosis: Long-term treatment with gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists".)

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Dec 01, 2017.
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