Children's Hospital Colorado
Gynecology

Endometriosis

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What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a condition that occurs when tissue from the inner lining of the uterus (called the endometrium) spreads outside of the uterus. This tissue continues to act as it would inside the uterus during the menstrual cycle — thickening, breaking down and sometimes bleeding. The tissue causes inflammation and irritation resulting in pain, especially during a menstrual period.

Endometriosis can affect females of any reproductive age, from their first period to menopause. Most commonly, endometrial tissue spreads to the ovaries, fallopian tubes, outer lining of the uterus and surrounding pelvic tissues. Endometriosis can cause inflammation and scarring, and without treatment, it will usually persist and worsen over the reproductive years.

At Children's Hospital Colorado, our pediatric and adolescent gynecologists are experienced in treating endometriosis in girls, teens and young adults. We provide expert guidance for all steps of treatment, from diagnosis to treatment and follow-up care to help you or your child live without pelvic pain.

Endometriosis

What causes endometriosis?

The causes of endometriosis are unknown. However, we believe that estrogen, a naturally occurring hormone, causes it to spread and worsens endometriosis pain. Endometriosis typically begins developing in the months and years after a person starts having menstrual periods. When those with endometriosis reach menopause and their estrogen levels drop, their symptoms usually subside.

Who gets endometriosis?

Endometriosis can occur in anyone who has started having menstrual periods. It affects approximately 10% of females. Most are diagnosed in their late teens and 20s. Those who have a first-degree relative (mother or sister) with endometriosis are seven times more likely to develop endometriosis than those who do not have a close relative with the condition.

Is endometriosis associated with infertility?

Endometriosis does not cause infertility, but those who have the condition typically have more difficulty getting pregnant. Between 20% and 50% experiencing infertility also have endometriosis. Inflammation caused by endometriosis can cause a number of changes to the reproductive system that increase infertility.

At Children's Colorado, our care team works to diagnose and treat endometriosis early to reduce the odds of infertility.

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Get to know our pediatric experts.

Stephen Scott, MD

Stephen Scott, MD

Ob/Gyn Obstetrics & Gynecology

Veronica Alaniz, MD

Veronica Alaniz, MD

Ob/Gyn Obstetrics & Gynecology

Marcy Hoath, PA-C

Marcy Hoath, PA-C

Physician Assistant

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Elizabeth Clain, MD

Elizabeth Clain, MD

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