Endometrioma in adolescents and future reproductive health


There continues to be debate over the nature and progression of ovarian endometriomas in adolescence due to the possibility that they may have a different origin and to the impossibility to be able to predict progress.

The hypothesis of a different origin traces its roots in the phenomenon called “neonatal menstruation” (NUB), occurring in approximately 5% of newborn. The retrograde shedding of neonatal endometrium may contain progenitor cells and stroma that may lie dormant under the peritoneal surface until being activated when estrogens begin to rise.

In teenagers, ovarian endometriomas are often preceded by highly angiogenic implants in the fossa ovarica, with adhesion formation resulting in the invagination of the ovarian cortex and the creation of a pseudocyst.

Use of imaging techniques makes it possible to diagnose even small endometriomas. This is vital to their management, since there is evidence that the disease in an adolescent represents a severe condition, with tendency to progression. In addition, if intervention is decided, the first surgical procedure can determine the ultimate outcome of her reproductive life, because there is a significantly higher risk of inadvertently removing ovarian tissue in the presence of an endometrioma than of other ovarian pathologies. For this reason, techniques avoiding additional trauma to the ovary should be preferred and those who wish to become pregnant should attempt conception as soon as possible; if pregnancy is not sought, hormonal therapy is strongly advised.

Finally, young age at diagnosis may constitute a pivotal factor in considering fertility preservation.

J Endometr Pelvic Pain Disord 2017; 9(1): 9 - 16

Article Type: REVIEW



Ivo Brosens, Giuseppe Benagiano

Article History


Financial support: No grants or funding have been received for this study.
Conflict of interest: None of the authors has financial interest related to this study to disclose.

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  • Leuven Institute for Fertility and Embryology, Leuven - Belgium
  • Department of Gynaecology, Obstetrics and Urology, “Sapienza” University, Rome - Italy

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