Semin Reprod Med 2017; 35(03): 263-270
DOI: 10.1055/s-0037-1603582
Review Article
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

The Systemic Effects of Endometriosis

Myles H. Alderman III1, *, Nicole Yoder1, *, Hugh S. Taylor1
  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
28 June 2017 (online)


Endometriosis is a condition defined by the presence of endometrial glands and stroma in ectopic locations. While the most commonly seen symptoms of the disease are pelvic pain, dysmenorrhea, and infertility, endometriosis has also systemic effects in multiple organ systems. Here, we review literature describing closely associated comorbidities including cardiovascular disease, cancers, autoimmune disease, psychiatric conditions, and metabolism/body weight. We examine the pathophysiology and hypothesized mechanism by which endometriosis may lead to these systemic effects; mechanisms include cytokine and micro-RNA production as well as stem cell migration and dissemination. The broad systemic effects of endometriosis as well as correlated comorbidities are often overlooked in the treatment of patients with endometriosis. Increased awareness may lead to more effective treatment and prevention.

* These authors contributed equally to the writing of this article.