Causes and Diagnoses

Causes and Diagnoses of Endometriosis

The cause of endometriosis is not clear. Specialists suggest the cause could be that during a woman’s period, some of the tissue backs up through the fallopian tubes into the abdomen. Other specialists suggest genetics play a role. Current research is also looking at how the function of the immune system relates to the development of this condition.

Risk factors

Endometriosis can develop in any woman. But, certain risk factors increase the likelihood of developing this condition, including:

  • Women who have a mother, sister or daughter with the disease
  • Women who gave birth for the first time after age 30
  • Caucasian women
  • Women with an abnormal uterus


To diagnose endometriosis, your physician will perform a laparoscopy. This minimally invasive surgical procedure uses a thin tube with a lens and a light at the end. It’s inserted into an incision in the abdominal wall to see into the pelvic area. Your physician can often find the locations, extent and size of the misplaced tissue.

In some cases, your physician may need to perform alternative tests. Other tests may include:

  • Biopsy: For this test, a small tissue sample is removed from the body and examined.
  • Ultrasound: This imaging test uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of the organs.
  • Computed tomography (CT scan): For this imaging test, X-rays and a computer are used to make images (often called slices). It can find problems that may not show up on an ordinary X-ray.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): This imaging test provides a two-dimensional view of organs or tissue.