Patients and Caregivers

About Endometriosis

Endometriosis affects approximately 10% of all women of reproductive age and is defined by the presence, growth, and invasion of endometrial tissue outside the uterine cavity.15 Endometriosis most commonly involves the ovaries, bowel or the tissue lining the pelvis. Rarely, endometrial tissue may spread beyond your pelvic region.

In endometriosis, displaced endometrial tissue continues to act as it normally would: It thickens, breaks down and bleeds with each menstrual cycle. And because this displaced tissue has no way to exit your body, it becomes trapped. Surrounding tissue can become irritated, eventually developing scar tissue and adhesions—abnormal tissue that binds organs together.16

This process can cause pain—sometimes severe—especially during the menstrual cycle. Symptoms of endometriosis include excessive menstrual pain, pelvic pain, and reduced fertility.

There is no cure for endometriosis but long-term management includes pharmacological and surgical approaches to treat pain and infertility. Fertility problems also may develop. Fortunately, effective treatments are available.

Endometriosis is believed to be a precursor lesion for ovarian cancer, and to some degree it behaves similarly, because even without malignant transformation it invades and damages the tissue of neighboring organs.

HE4 and CA125 in Endometriosis

  • HE4 is significantly higher in ovarian cancers, but not in endometriosis17
  • CA125 is elevated in ovarian cancer and endometriosis17
  • CA125 and HE4 differentiates ovarian tumors from endometriosis17

Ovarian Cancer vs Ovarian Endometriosis