Endometriosis 101

Endometriosis 101

By: Dr. Kimyra Milhouse

When something's up with our bodies, it's like our internal alarms start ringing. And when it comes to endometriosis, that bell tolls a bit louder for some. 

Endometriosis isn't just a tale of bad period cramps — it's a full-blown saga where the tissue that should be playing it cool inside the uterus decides to go on a rogue adventure. And yes, it brings discomfort and sometimes makes the journey to parenthood a winding road. 

Interested in learning more? We’ve got you covered. Read on to discover all there is to know about endometriosis, including why it happens and how to navigate this wild ride with a bit more ease. 

Let’s dive in!


What is Endometriosis?

In the world of uteruses and their companions, endometriosis is an unexpected plot twist. Picture the lining of your uterus, the endometrium, deciding to set up camp in places it really shouldn't — like on your ovaries, fallopian tubes, or even the pelvic cavity

This misplaced tissue still acts like it's in the uterus, thickening, breaking down, and bleeding with each menstrual cycle. 

But since it's trapped with nowhere to go, it causes a range of discomforts:


What Are the Causes of Endometriosis?

So, why does endometriosis happen? We’ll be honest — the answer to this is a bit fuzzy, and the medical community is still piecing together the full picture. 

However, several factors are believed to contribute to this condition:


Retrograde Menstruation

This is when menstrual blood containing endometrial cells flows back through the fallopian tubes into the pelvic cavity instead of leaving the body.


Embryonic Cell Transformation

Hormones like estrogen can transform embryonic cells — cells in the early stages of development — into endometrial-like cell implants during puberty.


Surgical Scar Implantation

After surgeries, such as a hysterectomy or C-section, endometrial cells might attach to the surgical incision.


Immune System Disorders

Sometimes, the body's defense system might not tackle the misplaced endometrial tissue, allowing it to grow.


How Does Endometriosis Affect You?

When endometriosis decides to crash the party, it's not just bringing a plus one — it's bringing the whole crew and throwing a rave where it shouldn't. This uninvited guest can affect you in more ways than one, making you all too aware of its presence — especially during your menstrual periods. 


Let's break down the guest list:


Severe Pain

We're talking menstrual cramps that have you doubling over, making those over-the-counter ibuprofen tablets your new BFFs. But it's not just during your period — pain with sexual intercourse, during urination, or bowel movements can also gatecrash, especially if endometriosis is hanging out near your bladder or bowel.


Chronic Pelvic Pain

This isn't your average discomfort. It's like having a constant reminder that something's not right in your pelvic cavity, with the pain sticking around long after your period has left the building.


Menstrual Cycle Madness

Heavy menstrual flow? Check. Unpredictably long or short cycles? Check. Your menstrual cycle seems to be throwing its own curveballs courtesy of endometriosis.


Fertility Fracas

For some, endometriosis can make the journey to parenthood feel like navigating a maze blindfolded. It's one of those things that can affect fertility, making those dreams of a little one more challenging but not impossible.


Can Endometriosis Lead to Other Health Issues?

As if endometriosis wasn't enough to handle, it sometimes likes to bring in more trouble, affecting more than just your menstrual cycle or fertility. It's like a domino effect — once one piece falls, others follow:


Ovarian Cysts

Endometriomas — aka chocolate cysts — aren't as sweet as they sound. They're a type of ovarian cyst filled with dark, old blood and can cause ovaries to feel like they're under a squeeze.


Scar Tissue and Adhesions

Imagine the internal tissues sticking together like Velcro, leading to pain and other complications. That's what scar tissue and adhesions can do, creating a sticky situation inside.


Increased Risk for Other Conditions

While not a direct cause-and-effect situation, living with endometriosis might bump up your chances for other conditions. It's a complex relationship that researchers are still trying to fully understand.


How Is Endometriosis Diagnosed?

So, you suspect endometriosis is the reason you've been feeling off — now what? 

Getting to the bottom of this isn't just about popping into the doctor's office for a quick chat. It's about rolling up your sleeves and getting down to some real talk with your healthcare provider. 

Here’s how they’ll help you figure it out:


Pelvic Exam

Step one is pretty direct. Your doctor does a hands-on check to feel for any signs that endometriosis is chilling where it shouldn't be. They're on the lookout for cysts or scar tissue that could signal the presence of endometriosis.



This step involves using sound waves to take a peek inside your pelvic area. It's not invasive, but it gives your doctor a clearer picture of what's going on. They're especially keen to see if there are cysts on your ovaries or anything else unusual that might point to endometriosis.



Your doctor might suggest a laparoscopy if the ultrasound and pelvic exam don’t provide clear answers. This is a bit more involved — a minor surgical procedure where they insert a camera through a small incision in your abdomen to get a close-up view of your pelvic organs. 

If they find endometriosis tissue, they can even remove a small sample for testing, which helps confirm the diagnosis and might offer some relief from symptoms.


What Are Some Options for Relief and Management? 

Navigating the path with endometriosis isn't a one-size-fits-all journey — it involves finding the right mix of treatments and strategies that bring you comfort and improve your quality of life. 

Here’s a look at some avenues you might explore:

  • Contraceptives and Birth Control Pills: These aren't just for preventing pregnancy. They can regulate your menstrual cycle, reduce or even eliminate painful periods, and manage the amount of estrogen your body produces, which can be beneficial for managing endometriosis symptoms.
  • Hormone Therapy: This approach targets the hormonal fluctuations that fuel endometriosis growth. By keeping these hormones in check, hormone therapy can lessen the severity of symptoms.
  • Pain Management: For those days when the discomfort feels relentless, over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs can be lifesavers. They can help manage severe pain and make your days more bearable.
  • IUD (Intrauterine Device): An IUD that releases progestin can help reduce pain and menstrual bleeding, offering a long-term management option for some.

Keep in mind that what works wonders for one person might not for another, so it's about teamwork with your healthcare provider to tailor a plan that fits your life.


When To Seek Medical Attention

If you're dealing with symptoms of endometriosis (chronic pelvic pain, painful periods, or discomfort during urination or bowel movements) and it's starting to put a damper on your daily life, it's time to have a chat with your doctor. Especially if you've noticed a shift in your menstrual cycle or if infertility concerns are on your radar, getting professional insight can make a world of difference.


Persistent Symptoms

If the pain just won’t quit or if menstrual cramps are turning into something you dread all month long, these could be signs that endometriosis is at play.


Changes in Your Menstrual Cycle

Any significant changes in your cycle — like heavier bleeding or more painful periods — warrant a conversation with your gynecologist.


Considering Your Fertility

If you're thinking about having kids in the future and endometriosis is part of your health picture, discussing treatment options that align with your reproductive goals is a smart move.


Evaluating Treatment Side Effects

If you're already undergoing treatment for endometriosis and are experiencing side effects or not seeing the improvement you hoped for, it's important to reassess your management plan.


How Do You Keep Thriving With Endometriosis?

Living with endometriosis is a journey, but it doesn’t have to sideline you from enjoying life. 

Here are a few tips to keep you moving forward, feeling strong, and living to the fullest:


Stay Active

Finding ways to stay active can really shift the tide on how you handle endometriosis. Yoga, pilates, or just a gentle walk can help stretch the lower back and pelvic muscles, offering some relief while giving a boost to your overall mood


Find Your Comfort

Heavy periods are a common sidekick of endometriosis, but they shouldn't keep you from living your best life. Our Heavy Flow pads are designed for those days, providing the supreme absorbency and comfort you need so you can focus on being you — not on your period.


Lean on Your Support Network

The strength found in a support network? It's unbeatable. Finding your tribe — those who get the ups and downs of endometriosis — can light up your world in ways you didn't think possible. 

From local meet-ups to digital hangouts, swapping stories, advice, and a whole lot of "me toos" can turn the journey of managing endometriosis into a road less daunting.


The Bottom Line

Here at The Honey Pot, we get it. Living with endometriosis is a journey that requires compassion, care, and the right companions by your side. From our plant-derived intimate care products to our community of support, we're here to empower you at every turn. 

Remember, your experience is unique, and so is your path to wellness. We're just here to help light the way with solutions that celebrate and support you — every day. Here’s to embracing your strength, championing your health, and finding joy in the little things that make a big difference.


Endometriosis - Symptoms and causes | Mayo Clinic

Endometriosis | Johns Hopkins Medicine

Deep Ovarian Endometriosis (Endometriomas) | Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Retrograde Menstruation: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment | Cleveland Clinic

Endometriosis - Symptoms and causes | Mayo Clinic

Endometriosis | Office on Women's Health | Womenshealth.gov

What are the treatments for endometriosis during menopause? | NICHD | Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

Yoga for better mental health | Harvard Health