Patient Resources

Explaining Endometriosis

Endometriosis is an often painful disorder that occurs when the tissue that makes up the uterine lining is present on other organs inside your body. It most commonly involves the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the tissue lining the pelvis, but it can occur anywhere in the body. Symptoms typically include lower abdominal pain, pain with periods, or pain with sexual intercourse. Fertility problems may develop. Some women with endometriosis may have no symptoms at all. 

How It Happens

Endometriosis may happen when a woman has her period and some of the blood and tissue from the uterus travels through the fallopian tubes and into the abdominal cavity. This is known as retrograde menstruation. It is also a possibility that some cells outside the uterus change to become the same kind of cells that line the uterus, explaining endometriosis at unusual sites. Another explanation is that the cells from the uterus lining travel through the blood vessels or lymphatic system to reach other organs or areas of the body. The disorder is more common if a close relative also has it. 

Explaining the Pain

When a woman with endometriosis is having her menstrual cycle, there is bleeding from the cells and tissue inside the uterus as well as from the cells and tissue outside the uterus. When blood touches the other organs, it can cause irritation and inflammation. Scar tissue can also develop from the endometriosis, which can contribute to the pain. 


A doctor must perform a laparoscopy in order to diagnose endometriosis, in which a doctor looks in the abdomen with a camera, usually through the belly button, to take a sample of a suspected endometriosis lesion. It can be located on or within an ovary, causing an endometrioma, or a cyst of endometriosis. Surgery can get rid of scar tissue so the ovaries and tubes can return to their normal location in the pelvis. It has been shown to improve pain symptoms and may help women become pregnant. 


Endometriosis seems to impair fertility by causing distortion of the fallopian tubes, causing them to be unable to pick up the egg after ovulation. It can also create inflammation that adversely affects the function of the ovary, egg, fallopian tubes, or uterus. Between 20-40% of women with infertility will have endometriosis.


The North Carolina Center for Reproductive Medicine/Talbert Fertility Institute is the premiere center for reproductive health in North Carolina and the East Coast. Our team specializes in fertility testing, diagnosis, and treatment of infertility conditions. We’re experts in IVF, Tubal Ligation Reversal, Male Infertility, Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), Gestation Surrogacy, Family Balancing, and more. Contact us today.

close slider

    Your Name (required)

    Your Email (required)

    Phone Number (required)

    Your Message