The word endometriosis comes from endometrium, the lining of the uterus / womb. Endometriosis is a very common condition where cells of the lining of the womb (the endometrium) are found elsewhere, usually in the pelvis and around the womb, ovaries and fallopian tubes. It mainly affects women during their reproductive years. It can affect women from every social group and ethnicity. Endometriosis is not an infection and it is not contagious. Endometriosis is not cancer.

Endometriosis affects as many as one in ten women of childbearing age, many of whom will have no symptoms. An estimated two million women in the UK have this condition.

The condition can vary in severity. Some women have mild endometriosis that causes few problems; other women suffer with many effects of the condition.

Endometriosis can affect many aspects of a woman’s life including her general physical health, emotional wellbeing and daily routine. Some women do not have any symptoms at all.

At your appointment, you may be asked specific questions about your periods and your sex life. It is important that you provide as much information as possible, as this will help your doctor find the correct diagnosis. You may find it helpful to write down your symptoms beforehand and take your notes along to the appointment with you. In this way, you will be sure to provide all the information required. Some women find it helpful to take a friend or partner along with them as well. You should also have an opportunity to ask questions.

Your gynaecologist may examine your pelvic area; this will include an internal examination. Your doctor will discuss the best time to do this. This may be when you are having your period. If you have concerns about this, you should have an opportunity to discuss them.

You should be given full information about your options for treatment. This should also include information about the risks and benefits of each option.