How common is endometriosis?

The actual number of women who have endometriosis is not known because many women do not have symptoms. The formal diagnosis of endometriosis can be made only after a laparoscopic exam. Regardless of whether pain or infertility is the major problem, many women with endometriosis are never diagnosed. This is because their symptoms are not severe enough to require laparoscopy.

  • Among all women, it is estimated that 6 to 10 out of 100 have endometriosis.1
  • Endometriosis is seen in about 50 out of every 100 teenagers who have menstrual periods that are painful enough to be evaluated with laparoscopy.2
  • Endometriosis is seen in 20 to 40 out of every 100 teen girls who have pelvic pain that is not necessarily related to their menstrual periods.3
  • Almost 70 out of 100 women with endometriosis had symptoms before age 20.3
  • Endometriosis is very rare before puberty.
  • Symptoms of endometriosis usually disappear after menopause.

Citations

  1. Guidice LC, Kao LC (2004). Endometriosis. Lancet, 364(9447): 1789–1799.
  2. Sarajari S, et al. (2007). Endometriosis. In AH DeCherney et al., eds., Current Diagnosis and Treatment Obstetrics and Gynecology, 10th ed., pp. 712–719. New York: McGraw-Hill Medical Publishing Division.
  3. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (2005). Endometriosis in adolescents. ACOG Committee Opinion No. 310. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 105(4): 921–927.

Last Updated: July 28, 2009

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