When a woman has endometriosis, the tissue that lines her uterus, called the endometrium, grows outside of the uterus. When this tissue grows outside of the uterus, it is mostly found in the pelvic cavity. In very rare cases, endometriosis areas can grow in the lungs or other parts of the body. The endometriosis growths are affected by the monthly menstrual cycle. When a woman has endometriosis, the growths outside of the uterus also bleed during her period. As the tissue grows, it can develop into growths, also called tumors or implants. These growths are usually benign (not cancerous) and are rarely associated with cancer. Growths can cause mild to severe pain, infertility, and heavy periods.
No one knows for sure what causes this disease. One theory is that during menstruation some of the menstrual tissue backs up through the fallopian tubes into the abdomen, where it implants and grows. Another theory suggests that endometriosis may be genetic, or runs in families.
Our belief is that anyone with endo should be treated at the first suspicion of the disease. The inflammation that is caused by endo likely slowly damages the ovaries removing eggs at a faster than normal rate – hence infertility and earlier menopause. So instead of birth control pills for the adolescent, surgery with complete excision by a very experienced operator is the best course of action.