Endometriosis, which only affects women, is caused when tissue that normally lines the uterus grows elsewhere, usually in the pelvis, ovaries, or fallopian tubes. The tissue does not know it is in the wrong place, however, and continues to act as normal by thickening and shedding blood during a woman’s period.
Unfortunately, when this occurs outside of the uterus, the tissue becomes trapped in these wrong places and causes scar tissue and adhesions that force pelvic tissue and other organs to stick to each other. Over 80 million women worldwide suffer from endometriosis, and it causes infertility in almost half of them.
The main symptom of endometriosis is extreme pain. Women who suffer can also experience bleeding and inflammation in the areas where the endometrial cells grow incorrectly. Although not as common, endometriosis can occur in the bowels, small intestines, ladder, lungs, eyes, and brain. Intercourse, urination, and bowel movements can also be painful.
Since the pain endometriosis causes is frequently intermittent and can be managed with medication, Social Security Administration (SSA) does not have a blue book listing for the condition. You may still be able to qualify for disability benefits through Social Security, however, if your endometriosis limits your functional capacity to such an extent that you cannot work at the level of substantial gainful activity, even with treatment.
Treatment options can include hormone therapy, surgery to remove endometrial tissue, pain medication, and hysterectomy. Surgery to remove the tissue is only temporary, however, and the endometriosis often returns. Hysterectomy is considered an extreme option, and most other treatments will be explored before resorting to it because it carries other medical risks.
To prove that you lack the functional capacity to work, medical documentation will be crucial and should include a description of pain and symptoms, diagnosis, medication, test reults, treatment and responses to treatment, and prognosis.