The Stages of Endometriosis

What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissue that makes up the uterine lining, the endometrium, is found outside the uterus. The endometrium can be found in and on other organs in the pelvis and abdominal area. The most common areas in which it can be found are the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bowels and outside of the uterus. It can travel as far as the kidney, bladder, or even the lungs.

The Stages of Endometriosis
Endometriosis is classified into four stages. It does not always move directly from one stage to the next. It can improve or worsen with time. The reason that some individuals have more severe cases of endometriosis than others is unknown. The stages are based on criteria, developed by the Americian Society of Reproductive Medicine, that includes: location, amount, depth, and size of tissue. Points are given concerning the spread of the endometrial tissue, pelvic involvement, pelvic adhesions, and blockage of the Fallopian tubes.

The four stages include:

Stage 1 (Minimal): Scar tissue is minimal in this stage. Endometrial implants are few and small. These lesions may be starting to grow on internal organs or on the tissue lining the pelvis or abdomen. Inflammation may also appear around the pelvic cavity.

Stage 2 (Mild): Scar tissue begins forming and more endometrial implants are present than in stage one. The light lesions begin growing deeper in the tissue surrounding the uterus, on one or both ovaries, and in the pelvic lining.

Stage 3 (Moderate): Endometrial implants become numerous and deep. Adhesions increase and can be found on the ovaries and pelvic lining during this stage. Ovarian cysts range from small to large in size.

Stage 4 (Severe): Large cysts exist on one or both ovaries. The endometrial implants are widespread and include the pelvic lining. Adhesions are deep and thick. The lesions may be present on the Fallopian tubes and bowels.

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