Endometriosis is a wild overgrowth of the uterine lining, which may then detach itself from the uterus, invade the pelvic space and attach itself to other organs or body tissue. This misplaced uterine tissue spontaneously bleeds in response to hormonal changes, causing internal bleeding, scarring and often excruciating pain that can destroy the woman's ability to live and function normally. This disease is not uncommon among women, but it is incurable, at least by conventional medical standards. Non-surgical treatments suppress natural oestrogen production. Conservative surgery removes the excess tissue; radical surgery also removes the uterus.
Rhesus monkeys exposed to high doses of dioxin had significantly higher rates of endometriosis than unexposed moneys. The odds of having the syndrome were proportional to the dioxin doses received. However, scientists do not know how to compare the short-term high-dose exposures in monkeys to the long-term-low dose exposures typically seen in people. It has also been found by German researchers than women with endometriosis were more likely than their healthy counterparts to have elevated levels of PCBs in their blood. Dioxins are PCBs, many of which mimic oestrogen in the body and are implicated in inducing hormone-linked sexual abnormalities in foetuses.
An estimated 5 million women in the USA are affected by endometriosis. About 20% of hysterectomies are done on women with endometriosis.