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Monday, 12 July 2010

Endo, endo everywhere

Endometriosis is a condition that you usually associate with the pelvic organs (the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes etc); however it is not exclusive to these areas. Endometriosis can be found pretty much anywhere around the body, though cases of extra pelvic endo are rare. Below is a list of sites in which endo has been found, although I’ve tried to make the list as complete as possible I admit I may have missed some items (feel free to add any in the comment box below!). I’ve put the medical names of each site in brackets in case anyone would like to further research these areas.

The Brain (cerebral)
The Heart (myocardial)
The Lungs (pulmonary or catamenial pneumothorax/hemothorax/hemoptysis)
The Diaphragm
The Liver (hepatic)
The Stomach (gastric)
The Kidney (renal)
The Pancreas (pancreatic)
The Intestines (ileum or colon)
The Appendix (appendiceal)
The Navel/Bellybutton (umbilicus)
Tear Ducts (nasolacrimal)
The Nose (nasal)
The Skin (cutaneous)
The Buttocks (gluteal)
The Leg Muscle (soleus and gastrocnemius)

Now if you read any of the above links a frequent comment you will probably notice relates to the rarity of endometriosis outside the pelvis. While it is true extra pelvic endometriosis is rare, it can be quite serious. Extra pelvic endometriosis can become malignant, although again this is quite rare. The case of endo of the heart reported above proved to be fatal. If you read the case of gluteal endo reported above it turned out the woman was left permanently disabled. Generally the way to recognise extra pelvic endo is if you find there is any unusual pain or bleeding that occurs in regular cycles, so it pays to be wary, but not paranoid!

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