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What is endometriosis?

The following content was provided by What about me®, an interactive site for young people who menstruate.

"Endometriosis is a common cause of very painful periods. We often call it 'endo' for short. Endometriosis affects about 1 in 10 women, girls and transgender and non-binary individuals. The symptoms often begin from a person's first menstrual period or during the teen years."

  • The 'endometrium' is the name of the lining of the uterus. The endometrium grows inside the uterus and bleeds each month with a period.  
  • When tissue that’s similar to the lining of the uterus is found in areas outside the uterus, it is called 'endometriosis'. 
  • Endometriosis inflames and irritates those tissues outside the uterus, causing pain, inflammation, lesions, and scarring. 
  • Endometriosis responds to the same hormones as the lining of the uterus but doesn’t always behave in the same way, which we are learning more about.
  • Symptoms can start from your first period – this means teenagers can have endometriosis.

  • 200 million people all around the world have endometriosis – that’s about 1 in 10 (some research says it’s higher than that).

  • About 130,000 people living in New Zealand have endometriosis.

  • Endometriosis can be well treated and well managed, especially when we recognise the symptoms early and get help to manage them. This is important to improve your quality of life and wellbeing now and reduce possible complications in the future, such as developing chronic pelvic pain and possible fertility problems. 

Want to learn more? Explore this interactive on-line resource. Have a go!
How do I know if I have endo?