A dispute has recently emerged whether early descriptions exist of the condition we name endometriosis. A first question is: ‘Who identified endometriosis?' To respond, two non-complementary methods have been employed: searching for ancient descriptions of symptoms associated with endometriosis or, alternatively, identifying researchers who described pathological features we associate with the presence of endometriosis in its various forms. We opted for the latter and found no evidence that in older times anyone delineated the macroscopic features of endometriosis; descriptions of menstrual or cyclic pain cannot be taken as proof of knowledge of what caused it. During the mid-part of the 19th century, Rokitansky had a great intuition: endometrial glands and stroma can be present in ovarian and uterine neoplasias. However, using histological parameters of endometrial structure and activity, the first scientist to delineate peritoneal endometriosis under the name ‘adenomyoma' was Cullen. On the other hand, Rokitansky was the first to describe a form of adenomyosis (an adenomatous polyp). Early descriptions of ovarian endometrioma as ‘haematomas of the ovary' or ‘chocolate cysts' date back to the end of the 19th century. The first mention of an ‘ovary containing uterine mucosa' was published in 1899 by Russel, but Sampson was the first to demonstrate specific endometrial activities, such as desquamation at the time of menstruation and decidualization in pregnancy; subsequently, he presented a theory on its pathogenesis.

Nezhat C, Nezhat F, Nezhat C: Endometriosis: ancient disease, ancient treatments. Fertil Steril 2012;98(suppl 6):S1-S62.
Benagiano G, Brosens I: Who identified endometriosis? Fertil Steril 2011;95:13-16.
Audebert A, Backstrom T, Barlow DH, et al: Endometriosis 1991: a discussion document. Hum Reprod 1992;7:432-435.
Cullen TS: The distribution of adenomyomata containing uterine mucosa. Arch Surg 1920;1:215-283.
Frankl O: Adenomyosis uteri. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1925;10:680-684.
Knapp VJ: How old is endometriosis? Late 17th- and 18th-century European descriptions of the disease. Fertil Steril 1999;72:10-14.
Templeman C, Marshall SF, Ursin G, et al: Adenomyosis and endometriosis in the California Teachers Study. Fertil Steril 2008;90:415-424.
Schrön D: Disputatio inauguralis medica de ulceribus uteri. Jena, Rudolf Wilhelm Crause, Literis Krebsianis, 1690, pp 6-17.
Röderer J: De ulceribus utero molestis observationibus. Göttingen, Hager, 1758, p 2.
Broughton W: Dissertatio medica inauguralis de ulcerae uteri. Edinburgh, Hamilton & Balfour, 1755, pp 16-22.
Tailford R: Dissertatio medica inauguralis de ulcerae uteri. Leuven, Theodorum, 1765, pp 7-14.
Henry J: Dissertatio medica de ulcerae uteri. Leuven, University Press, 1795, p 457.
Hoctin P: Dissertatio medica inauguralis de inflammatione uteri. Louvain, Coster, 1779, pp 1-16.
Gebhard J: Dissertatio medica de inflammatione uteri. Marburg, Bayroff, 1786, pp 30-32.
Ludgers A: Dissertatio medico-practica inauguralis de hysteritide. Louvain, Wiskoff, 1776, pp 3-32.
Stölzel C: De metritidis diagnosis et cura. Leipzig, Klavear, 1797, pp 6-24.
Duff A: Dissertatio inauguralis medica de metritide. Louvain, Haak, 1769, pp 6-31.
Brotherson L: Dissertatio medica inauguralis de utero inflammatione ejusdem. Edinburgh, Balfour & Smellie, 1776, pp 16-22.
Crell J: Tumorem fundo uteri externe adhaerentem describit. Wittenberg, Typis, 1739, pp 5-8.
Oomen J, Gianotten WL: Lovesickness. In search of a discarded disease. Med Antropol 2008;20:69-86.
Soranos of Ephesus: Gynaecea (Gynaecology; English transl by Owsei Temkin). Baltimore, Johns Hopkins Press, 1956.
Benagiano G, Brosens I: The history of endometriosis: identifying the disease. Hum Reprod 1991;6:963-968.
Batt RE: A History of Endometriosis. London, Springer, 2011.
Rokitansky C: A Manual of Pathological Anatomy (transl by W.E. Swaine). Philadelphia, Blanchard & Lea, 1855, vol I: General pathological anatomy, pp 189-190.
Benagiano G, Brosens I: History of adenomyosis. Best Pract Res Clin Obstet Gynaecol 2006;20:449-463.
Rokitansky C: Über Uterusdrüsen-Neubildung in Uterus- und Ovarial-Sarcomen. (On the neoplasm of uterus glands on uterine and ovarian sarcomas). Zeitschr Ges Aerzte Wien 1860;16:577-581.
Bland Sutton J: Surgical Diseases of the Ovaries and Fallopian Tubes. Philadelphia, Lea Brothers, 1891.
Russel WW: Aberrant portions of the müllerian duct found in an ovary. Johns Hopkins Hospital Bull 1899;10:8-10.
Semmelink HB, De Josselin de Jong R: Beitrag mit Kenntnis der Adenomyome des weiblichen Genitalapparates (Contributon to the knowledge of adenomyoma of the female genital apparatus). Monatsschr Geburtshilfe Gynäkol 1905;22:234-251.
Pick L: Über Neubildungen am Genitale bei Zwittern - nebst Beiträgen zur Lehre von den Adenomen des Hodens und Eierstockes (About growths on genitals in hermaphrodites - along with contributions to the theory of adenomas of the testis and ovary). Arch Gynäkol 1905;76:191-281.
Sitzenfrei A: Das Übergreifen der Adenomyome des Uterus auf den Mastdarm. Zugleich ein Beitrag zur Klinik und Histogenese der Adenomyositis uteri et recti und des Adenomyoma recti (The spread of adenomyomas of the uterus onto the rectum. In addition, a contribution to the clinic and histogenesis of adenomyositis of uterus and rectum and of the adenomyoma of the rectum). Zeitschr Geb Gynäkol 1909;64:538-580.
Savage S: Haematoma of the ovary and its pathological connections with the ripening and the retrogression of the graafian follicle. Br Gynaecol J 1906;21:285-305.
Wolf EH: Ueber ‘Haematoma ovarii' (On haematoma of the ovary). Arkiv Gynäkol 1907;84:211-243.
Hedley JP: Haematoma of the ovary, with reports of 18 cases. J Obstet Gynaecol Br Emp 1910;18:294-311.
Casler DB: A unique, diffuse uterine tumor, really an adenomyoma, with stróma, but no glands. Menstruation after complete hysterectomy due to uterine mucosa remaining in the ovary. Trans Am Gynecol Soc 1919;44:69-84.
Smith RR: Hemorrhage into the pelvic cavity other that of ectopic pregnancy. Am J Obstet Gynaecol 1920;1:240-242
Norris CC: Ovary containing endometrium. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1921;1:831-834.
Hudelist G, Keckstein J, Wright JT: The migrating adenomyoma: past views on the etiology of adenomyosis and endometriosis. Fertil Steril 2009;92:1536-1543.
Emge LA: The elusive adenomyosis of the uterus. Its historical past and its present state of recognition. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1962;83:1541-1563.
Toki T, Horiuchi A, Li SF, Nakayama K, Silverberg SG, Fujii S: Proliferative activity of postmenopausal endometriosis: a histopathologic and immunocytochemical study. Int J Gynecol Pathol 1996;15:45-53.
Manero MG, Royo P, Olartecoechea B, Alcázar JL: Endometriosis in a postmenopausal woman without previous hormonal therapy: a case report. J Med Case Rep 2009;3:135.
Hughesdon PE: The structure of endometrial cysts of the ovary. J Obstet Gynaecol Br Emp 1957;44:481-487.
Sampson JA: Perforating hemorrhagic (chocolate) cysts of the ovary. Arch Surg 1921;3:245-323.
Sampson JA: The life history of ovarian hematomas (hemorrhagic cysts) of endometrial (müllerian) type. Arch Surg 1922;5:217-280.
Sampson JA: Peritoneal endometriosis due to the menstrual dissemination of endometrial tissue into the peritoneal cavity. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1927;14:422-469.
Halban J: Hysteroadenosis metastatica. Die lymphogene Genese der sog. Adenofibromatosis heterotopica (Metastatic hysteroadenosis. The lymphatic origin of the so-called heterotopic adenofibromatosis). Arch Gynäkol 1925;124:457-482.
Schwarz OH, Crossen R: Endometrial tissue in the ovary. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1924;7:505-528.
Brosens IA, Puttemans PJ, Deprest J: The endoscopic localization of endometrial implants in the ovarian chocolate cyst. Fertil Steril 1994;61:1034-1038.
Fitzhugh VA, Murphy G, Heller DS: Adenomyomatous polyp of the endometrium: a case report. J Reprod Med 2008;53:231-234.
Raghavendra Babu YP, Karki RK, Menezes RG, Jagadish Rao PP, Shetty BS, Sahu KK: Adenomyomatous polyp of the uterus: report of an autopsy case and review of the literature. J Forensic Leg Med 2012;19:236-238.
Hertig AT, Gore H: Tumors of the female sex organs. 2 (supplement). Tumors of the vulva, vagina and uterus; in Hertig AT, Gore H (eds): Atlas of Tumor Pathology. Washington, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, 1968, p 322.
Nasu K, Sugano T, Miyakawa I: Adenomyomatous polyp of the uterus. Int J Gynecol Obstet 1995;48:319-332.
Ugwumadu AHN, Bower D, Ho PK: Tamoxifen induced adenomyosis and adenomyomatous endometrial polyp. Br J Obstet Gynaecol 1993;100:386-388.
Nasu K, Arima K, Yoshimatsu J, Miyakawa I: Adenomyomatous polyp of the uterus in a patient receiving tamoxifen. Jpn J Clin Oncol 1997;27:350-352.
Takeuchi M, Matsuzaki K, Uehara H, Shimazu H, Nishitani H: A case of adenomyomatous polyp of the uterus associated with tamoxifen therapy. Radiat Med 2005;23:432-434.
Tamai K, Koyama T, Umeoka S, Saga T, Fujii S, Togashi K: Spectrum of MR features in adenomyosis. Best Pract Res Clin Obstet Gynaecol 2006;20:583-602.
De Brux J: Histopathologie gynécologique (Gynaecologic Histopathology). Paris, Masson, 1971, p 408.
Novak ER, Woodruff JD: Gynecologic and Obstetric Pathology. Philadelphia, WB Saunders, 1974.
Cullen T: Adenomyoma of the round ligament. Johns Hopkins Hosp Bull 1896;7:112-113.
Von Recklinghausen F: Die Adenomyomata und Cystadenomata der Uterus- und Tubenwandung: ihre Abkunft von Resten des Wolffischen Körpers (The Adenomyomas and Cystadenomas of the Uterus and Tube Wall: Their Origin from Remnants of the Wolffian Body). Berlin, Hirschwald, 1896.
Pick L: Ein neuer Typus des voluminösen paroophoralen Adenomyoms - zugleich über eine bisher nicht bekannte Geschwulstform der Gebärmutter (Adenomyoma psammopapillare) und über totale Verdoppelung des Eileiters (A new type of voluminous paroophoral adenomyomas - both on a previously unknown form of tumour of the uterus (adenomyoma psammopapillare) and a total doubling of the oviduct]. Arch Gynäkol 1897;54:117-206.
Rolly F: Ueber einen Fall von Adenomyoma uteri mit Uebergang in Carcinom und Metastasenbildung (About a case of uterine adenomyoma with transition to carcinoma and metastasis). Arch Pathol Anat Physiol Klin Med 1897;150:555-582.
Rolly F: Ueber einen Fall von Adenomyoma uteri etc. (About a case of adenomyoma of the uterus, etc.). Virchows Arch 1897;150:555.
Lockyer C: Fibroids and Allied Tumours (Myoma and Adenomyoma). London, MacMillan, 1918.
Cullen TS: Adenomyoma of the Uterus. Philadelphia, Saunders, 1908.
Sampson JA: Heterotopic or misplaced endometrial tissue. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1925;10:649-664.
Sampson JA: Inguinal endometriosis (often reported as endometrial tissue in the groin, adenomyoma in the groin, and adenomyoma of the round ligament). Am J Obstet Gynecol 1925;10:462-503.
Clement PB: History of gynecological pathology. IX. Dr. John Albertson Sampson, 1921. Int J Gynecol Pathol 2001;20:86-101.
Copyright / Drug Dosage / Disclaimer
Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.
You do not currently have access to this content.