Endometriosis is a chronic disease which becomes apparent in women during the reproductive phase of their lives. Endometriosis is a condition whereby tissue similar to the lining of the womb (endometrium) which is shed during menstruation is found in the pelvis in tissues including the peritoneum, ovaries, tubes, bladder and bowel.
Adenomyosis is a form of endometriosis in which the tissue of the lining of the womb is found in the surrounding womb muscle. This benign abnormality reacts in the same manner to the stimulation of the female hormones (oestrogen and progesterone) as does the lining of the womb, namely becoming thicker cyclically, breaking down and bleeding
The lining of the womb becomes built-up during the menstrual cycle and, whenever pregnancy does not occur, is shed, resulting in menstruation. Similar tissue when outside the womb breaks down in the same manner. This causes irritation and can lead to inflammation, scarring and, in some women, the formation of adhesions whereby different organs become adherent to one another and to the bowel.
This can give rise to many of the complaints from which women can suffer during menstruation. Later on, the symptoms can become chronic. After the menopause, such growth and shedding of the endometrium stops. Similarly, the growth of endometriosis outside of the womb stops. The endometriosis still sits there but in most cases does not give rise to symptoms having become dormant.