Thoracic endometriosis

Thoracic endometriosis is endometriosis in the chest. Uterine lining that is normally found in the uterus has moved outside the uterus and can settle on other organs. In thoracic endometriosis, this endometrium is usually located on or in the lungs or on the lung mucosa. This has a number of complaints such as severe chest pain, shortness of breath and a collapsed lung. These symptoms are related to menstruation.


1 in 10 women suffer from endometriosis. The uterine lining (endometrium) is located outside the uterine cavity. The endometrium is a layer on the inside of the uterine wall. This uterine lining thickens every month because it responds to the hormone estrogen. For various reasons, endometrium can adhere to other organs outside the uterus. This uterine lining responds just as hard to estrogen every month, becomes thicker and will then bleed. This phenomenon is called endometriosis.
The endometrium is often located on the ovaries or on the peritoneum. In very rare cases, the endometrium is located in the chest. This is called thoracic endometriosis. Thorax means chest.

Thoracic endometriosis: cause

It is often unclear how thoracic endometriosis develops. It is suspected that endometrial cells (uterine lining cells) spread through blood vessels or lymphatic vessels and end up in the chest. It is mainly thought that this happens via the bloodstream. Thoracic endometriosis rarely occurs alone: the normal form of endometriosis has often already occurred before. Endometriosis in the chest is most commonly manifested by cells on or in the lungs or on the lining of the lungs. The pleura is the outer lining of the lungs.


The most common symptom of thoracic endometriosis is a collapsed lung. This is caused by endometrium on the lung membrane. A collapsed lung is clearly recognizable by a sudden stabbing pain in the chest. Many women notice that they cannot breathe properly. Shortness of breath or shortness of breath also occurs. Continuing with a collapsed lung is not wise: a doctor must look at it and determine what treatment is necessary. A drain is often necessary. What is remarkable about thoracic endometriosis is that developing a collapsed lung is always associated with menstruation. As soon as menstruation occurs, a collapsed lung can develop. This is not immediately investigated the first time, but if a collapsed lung occurs several times during menstruation, this is reason to investigate whether there is thoracic endometriosis.
Another symptom is abdominal pain during menstruation and chest pain during menstruation. These two occur simultaneously due to endometriosis foci. These symptoms mainly occur with endometriosis on the lining of the lungs. With endometriosis on the lungs themselves, the symptoms are sometimes more vague. Coughing up blood is a clear symptom of this, otherwise the complaints are often the same as those of normal endometriosis. All complaints occur during or just after menstruation. The complaints can also occur outside of menstruation. Complaints such as depression, lethargy, fatigue, infertility or other complaints are also seen in endometriosis.


A collapsed lung requires treatment. Sometimes the woman does not immediately notice a collapsed lung and continues to suffer from it for some time. However, during heavy exertion it is noticeable that the body has to continue with one lung. Sometimes surgery is necessary to remove endometriosis foci. In other cases, hormones will be used to suppress menstruation. Logically, this means that ovulation does not occur, resulting in infertility. Women who would like to become pregnant do not benefit from this treatment method. This is a good method for all other women: because there is no menstruation, endometriosis will no longer occur. This prevents additional complaints.
In most cases, the complaints will decrease significantly after menopause. This is caused by a decrease in the hormone estrogen. An artificial and temporary menopause can also be induced using hormones. Endometriosis is a disease that cannot be cured on its own or with medication. Treatment therefore often focuses on treating symptoms or removing (surgical) the uterine lining.
Although the complaints disappear after menopause, the adhesions that have developed as a result of endometriosis will not disappear. If these adhesions occur in the chest, the risk of a collapsed lung remains. Surgery will still be required, despite the fact that other complaints have disappeared. Adhesions may also be present elsewhere in the abdominal cavity. These also do not disappear after menopause. Adhesions can cause pain. Even now, surgical intervention is required. An adhesion cannot be resolved medicinally.

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  • Endometriosis in women
  • Shortness of breath, cause and treatment
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