Endometriosis occurs when endometrial-like tissue, similar to the tissue normally found lining the uterus, is found in other parts of the body, such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, peritoneum (the membrane lining the abdominal and pelvic cavities) and the outside of the uterus. These tissues are collectively known as endometriosis and, like the endometrial tissue lining the uterus, they respond to hormones released by the ovaries, causing bleeding. This leads to inflammation and scarring, which can cause painful ‘adhesions’ joining together pelvic organs which are normally separate.
The causes of endometriosis are unclear, but factors that seem to increase the risk of endometriosis include a family history of endometriosis and menstrual cycle factors such as early age at first period, short menstrual cycles, and heavy or long periods (Jean Hailes for Women’s Health 2017b).
This report provides information about the prevalence of endometriosis in Australia, as well as endometriosis-related hospitalisations. Supplementary tables (tables S1–S12) can be viewed and downloaded at the AIHW website.