Attention was called by Babes as early as 1882 to the occurrence of ectopic endometrial tissue in a myoma uteri. In 1883 and 1896 Diesterweg and von Recklinghausen, respectively, wrote on similar observations. These reports were the first of a series by authors who found endometriosis (Sampson) to involve the female adnexa, peritoneum, broad ligaments, abdominal muscles, umbilicus and other viscera.
The following is a brief review of the various theories concerning the origin of ectopic endometrial tissue:
1. The wolffian theory. Origin from the mesonephros was supported by von Recklinghausen. This theory held sway until 1903, when Cullen demonstrated that the glandular inclusions in adenomyoma uteri were due to direct invasion of the uterine muscle from the mucosa.
2. The muellerian theory. This conception has been utilized to explain the presence of endometrial tissue in such locations as the umbilicus, inguinal region and rectovaginal septum, on the basis of