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Endometriosis is a condition where cells that line the uterus, leave the uterus and attach to other organs (e.g. ovaries, bowel, bladder) and continue their life cycle, instead of being expelled each month in the menstrual cycle. The abnormal tissue of endometriosis responds to hormonal changes and during each cycle the fragments build tissue, break down and then bleed. However unlike the uterine lining, endometrial implants cannot leave the body and thus the fluid must be absorbed by surrounding tissue. The events from bleeding through to absorption can be very painful. Women who develop endometriosis have a history of yeast infections, hay fever, eczema and food sensitivities.

Causes: exposure to environmental chemicals – polychlorinated biphenyls and dioxin, heredity.

Symptoms: pain in the lower back and the pelvic cavity, pain throughout the menstrual cycle, pain during sexual intercourse, anaemia, excessive menstrual bleeding, nausea, vomiting, pain during urination and infertility.

Who to consult: If a person suspects that they have endometriosis, they should consult a gynaecologist immediately. Other practitioners that may be of assistance are: dietician, GP, herbalist, naturopath and yoga practitioner.