Black Women & Endometriosis

African American woman seriousEndometriosis uniquely affects African-American women. Traditional thinking was that endometriosis was a condition of white women but that conventional thinking is rapidly changing. Unfortunately, when Black women have chronic pelvic pain it is presumed to be due to other conditions like PID (pelvic inflammatory disease, a pelvic infection) or uterine fibroid tumors (very common in Black women). However, endometriosis is real and common in many African-American women.

So, lets start with what exactly is endometriosis? Endometriosis is a condition that occurs when the tissue that normally grows inside of the uterus (called endometrium) grows outside of the uterus in the pelvis. Once in the pelvis, the endometrial tissue causes inflammation and scarring as it attaches to pelvic organs (fallopian tubes, ovaries, bowel and bladder). This scarring and inflammation is what causes the painful symptoms many with endometriosis experience.

ENDOMETRIOSIS is common. Approximately 10% of American women (about five million) are affected. Endometriosis is sited as the single most common causes of chronic pelvic pain in women (pelvic pain that has lasted for six months or longer).

The exact cause of endometriosis is unknown but possibilities include menstrual bleeding that goes through the fallopian tubes into the pelvis, genetic factors (it is more common in families) and having had a prior Cesarean section (C-section) delivery.

While we don’t know the exact cause, we do know the symptoms of endometriosis. These symptoms which are frequently wide ranging and debilitating include: