Endometriosis is a condition where tissue from the lining of the uterus is found in other locations such as the pelvis. It affects one in ten women and often manifests during the reproductive years. For some it may continue on as late as menopause.
The most common complaint from women struggling with endometriosis, is pelvic pain but most are also concerned whether or not they will be able to conceive. While endometriosis does make it more difficult to get pregnant, it is still possible. A fertility specialist can help treat the symptoms of Endometriosis as well as offer options to increases chances of conception.
Here are some facts about endometriosis:
-Painful menstrual cramps
-Chronic back pain
-Pain during sex (and in some cases, after sex)
-Pain when using the bathroom
-Bleeding or spotting
Health Problems with Endometriosis
Endometriosis can cause all the above symptoms as well as affect general physical, mental and emotional health if not recognized and treated properly.
Endometriosis is typically diagnosed by symptoms, a pelvic exam and/or ultrasound imaging. Surgery does allow visualization of the tissue outside of the uterus but is generally used on more severe cases. Once diagnosed, there are a few ways to treat endometriosis. Medications can help but are generally not used long term due to possible side effects. Surgery can also be helpful in reducing pain by removing endometriosis lesions and scar tissue.
Woman with endometriosis can still conceive. While no one is 100% sure why endometriosis causes infertility, some believe there are two ways it can affect fertility. First, it causes an immunological response that promotes a hostile environment for the egg, sperm, and embryos in the pelvis. Secondly, endometriosis is an inflammatory condition, which can destroy the normal pelvic architecture that facilitates egg pick up by the fallopian tube. Fertility treatments can improve the likelihood of pregnancy for those with both mild and more severe endometriosis. Mild cases are treated effectively with ovarian hyperstimulation followed by IUI (intrauterine insemination). In vitro fertilization can be utilized for those with more severe cases and greatly improve pregnancy rates.
Once a women with endometriosis becomes pregnant, some have had their symptoms ease.
If you have endometriosis, you are not alone. Though the symptoms can be painful, there are treatment options to ease the pain and to help combat the infertility.