The Conversation

Your weekly dose of evidence

It affects up to one in ten women but until a few years ago, few Australians had ever heard of endometriosis, a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus is found outside the womb.

Some women with endometriosis have pain that starts with or soon after their first period, while other women only realise they have the disease when they struggle with fertility. 

There's often a long delay between the first symptoms and diagnosis, partly because the only way to definitely diagnose the disease is with surgery.

Today on Thrive, we look at how endometriosis is diagnosed, treated and perceived, and we bust the long-held myth that pregnancy 'cures' the disease. 

Fron Jackson-Webb

Senior Health + Medicine Editor/Chief of Staff

Women with endometriosis need evidence-based information to make informed choices about their treatment. Timothy Paul Smith

Considering surgery for endometriosis? Here’s what you need to know

Martin Healey, University of Melbourne; Peter Rogers, University of Melbourne

Endometriosis is cut or vaporised with an electric current or laser. It ranges from a simple, 20 minute operation to complex surgery involving important organs such as the bowel and bladder.

Endometriosis can cause a number of symptoms, including pain during sex and pelvic pain outside of the period cycle. Jon Ly

I have painful periods, could it be endometriosis?

Mike Armour, Western Sydney University; Jane Chalmers, Western Sydney University; Melissa Parker, ACT Health

Endometriosis can cause a number of severe symptoms, including period pain. But painful periods alone aren't a surefire indicator of endometriosis. Here's what else to look out for.

From the archives

What happens to endometriosis when you’re on the pill?

Peter Rogers, University of Melbourne; Martin Healey, University of Melbourne; Premila Paiva, University of Melbourne

Many women are prescribed the pill without a definitive diagnosis of endometriosis.

Can diet improve the symptoms of endometriosis? Sadly, there’s no clear answer

Elisabeth Gasparini, The Royal Women's Hospital

There's some logic in eating and avoiding certain foods if you have endometriosis. And there are some studies that confirm this logic, but then others seem to refute it. And everyone is unique too.

Pregnancy doesn’t ‘cure’ endometriosis, so where does this advice come from?

Mike Armour, Western Sydney University

Pregnancy is often mentioned as a treatment or a 'cure' for endometriosis. Pregnancy may suppress the symptoms of endometriosis, but it is not a cure.

Women with endometriosis need support, not judgement

Kate Young, Monash University; Jane Fisher, Monash University; Maggie Kirkman, Monash University

Women with endometriosis say it affects their whole life, but they receive little support for managing this condition, which doesn't have a cure or a treatment regime without nasty side effects.

Sound and colour

Still from 'Marie Antoinette' (2006)

The great movie scenes: Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette

Bruce Isaacs, University of Sydney

While Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette may not be faithful to historical events, the film is a rhythmic, impressionistic and comical retelling of the young queen's life by a sophisticated filmmaker.

Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia is a compilation of 52 essays from First Nations authors, some of whom have never been published before. Rounak Amini/AAP

Speaking with: Author Anita Heiss on Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia

Jacinta Elston, Monash University

Author Anita Heiss speaks with Professor Jacinta Elston about her new anthology of essays from First Nations writers spanning the breadth of Australian society.

Expert answers to serious, weird and wacky questions

Curious Kids: how do birds see where they’re going?

Hazel Jackson, University of Kent

Not all birds have eyes on the sides of their heads – but even those that do can see straight in front of them.

Curious Kids: how does our heart beat?

Adam Taylor, Lancaster University

We don't control our heart – it's an involuntary muscle – but special pacemaker cells help keep it ticking away.

We asked five experts: do we have to poo every day?

Alexandra Hansen, The Conversation

All experts agreed there's nothing to worry about if you don't go every day.

Health Check: what are nightshade vegetables and are they bad for you?

Duane Mellor, Coventry University; Nenad Naumovski, University of Canberra

Don't believe the hype – tomatoes are not trying to stop you from eating them with poison.

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