Guest Blog by:

Alexis Nikolich
Support Group Coordinator | Run To End Endo

This remarkably common condition has been around for centuries, and it is only now beginning to receive the attention that it deserves. Today we will go over the five W’s of endometriosis – who, what, where, why, and when.

Who does endometriosis affect?

Endometriosis is a gynecological condition that affects approximately 1 million people in Canada -- 1 in 10 women and unmeasured numbers of transgender and gender nonconforming people.

What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis occurs when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus implants abnormally outside of the uterus in the pelvic cavity to form lesions, cysts, nodules and other growths.  Symptoms of endometriosis may include, but are not limited to cyclical pain, pain with sexual activity, struggles with infertility, gastrointestinal issues, and bladder symptoms.

Where can endometriosis occur within the body?

These growths have been found on every pelvic organ and surface including ligaments, bladder, ovaries, tubes, uterus, ureters, bowel, and other peritoneal (intra-abdominal) surfaces. More rarely, endometriosis has been found on the lung, diaphragm, nasal cavity and other locations throughout the body.

Why does endometriosis occur?

The cause of endometriosis is unknown. Some theories include the body’s inability to breakdown back-flow (retrograde) menstruation, congenital origins (genetic causes present at birth), metaplasia (where one cell type turns into a different cell type), circulatory or lymphatic distribution of endometriosis lesions, or a combination of more than one theory.

When is the right time to advocate for better endometriosis care?

The time to advocate for endometriosis care is now! Whether you are advocating for yourself, or for someone you know - become informed and seek answers, ask questions, find a doctor that is a good fit, and talk to others with the condition. Only together can we make a difference in the way that endometriosis is managed in Canada.

Organizations such as The Endometriosis Network Canada (TENC) provide invaluable resources for those living with endometriosis or with suspected endometriosis, such as a list of doctors, virtual support groups, blogs containing interviews with medical professionals, and so much more.


  1. The Endometriosis Network Canada
  2. EndoAct Canada
  3. The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada

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