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Endometriosis

More than 13 million women in the United States are known to suffer from endometriosis, a disease for which we provide diagnosis and treatment at our Chicago-area fertility centers.

Endometriosis is characterized by the growth of the uterine lining (endometrium) outside of the uterus. The uterine endometrium during the first half of the menstrual cycle increases in thickness and, during the second half, acquires a spongy-like consistency to facilitate embryo implantation. If there is no pregnancy, the uterine endometrium sheds, along with the menstrual blood, during the menstrual period. With endometriosis, the same cyclic changes that would typically only occur within the uterus, now also occur outside the uterus, which can cause bleeding into the abdomen or other organs, inflammatory reaction, development of adhesions (scar tissue), or ovarian cysts (endometriomas).

The cyclic changes associated with endometriosis described above are responsible for symptoms of the disease, which include:

  • Painful menstrual periods
  • Pain during or after urination
  • Pelvic pain unrelated to menstruation
  • Heavy, prolonged menstrual periods
  • Pain during and after sexual intercourse
  • Pain during or after bowel movements
  • Infertility

The frequency and intensity of these symptoms vary, and there is no direct relationship between the symptoms and the severity of endometriosis. Some women with advanced endometriosis have few, if any, symptoms; others have severe symptoms with only minor endometriosis. The intensity of symptoms is most likely related to the local inflammatory reaction and production of substances, such as prostaglandins and cytokines, by the endometriotic cells and cells of the immune system.


At the Reproductive Medicine Institute, our objective is to help you select the treatment option that is most appropriate for you. Our overall goal is to remove or suppress endometriosis, to delay its recurrence, to control its progression, and to address its symptoms — all without adversely affecting your fertility or exposing you to undesirable side effects. We recognize that different women may respond differently to the same treatment, and indeed, there is no one treatment that would be effective in all women.