March is officially Endometriosis Awareness Month, thanks to its inception by the Endometriosis Association in 1993. As news promoting education, fundraising, marches and social media events make their way around the globe, you can learn about this serious health condition so you can make informed decisions around your own fertility health.
Did you know that endometriosis afflicts around 200 million women around the world? Closer to home, that amounts to around 1 out of every 10 women in the USA alone. According to the Mayo Clinic, Endometriosis, or “endo,” is a serious women’s health concern that arises as the endometrial tissue (much like the lining of your uterus, or womb) develops outside of the uterus. Left untreated, endometriosis can leave you experiencing serious health problems.
-Pain during intercourse
-Irregular menstrual bleeding
30% to 50% of women with endometriosis have infertility. Unfortunately, this serious condition tends to be misdiagnosed or missed altogether, according the the Endometriosis Foundation of America. This is often the case because there’s not enough education and public awareness around it, making it all too easy to overlook.
Raising Endo Awareness
More recently, women and doctors are recognizing this condition as more information spreads throughout communities through raising awareness. Don’t let anyone tell you that your harsh pelvic pain is normal, because it isn’t. Diagnosing and treating endometriosis is vital for women who are experiencing the symptoms. When endo is found and treated early on, you will have the opportunity to potentially control your symptoms and avoid surgical intervention.
How Endometriosis Affects in-vitro fertilization (IVF)
-Adhesions (or scarring) in your pelvis, ovaries, or fallopian tubes
-Blockage or harm to the inside of your fallopian tubes
-Impeding an embryo’s ability to implant
-Interfering with hormonal and cell function
-Ovaries attaching to the pelvis lining (or to each other) interfering with their mobility
Some women experience pelvic or stomach pain when they have their period or during sex, and conversely, some don’t display any symptoms at all. This can become an issue if you are trying to conceive. Endometriosis may form inside your ovary so you end up with a cyst that may be detected via an ultrasound, but undergoing a laparoscopy (surgical procedure) is the only way to accurately confirm this.
Diagnosing Endometriosis Stages
-Endo Stage I Minimal: Just a few small implants with no visible scar tissue.
-Endo Stage II Mild: No tissue and very few implants involving fewer than 2 inches of stomach.
-Endo Stage III Moderate: The stomach reveals multiple implants, possibly deep with endometriotic fluid pockets in the ovaries and possible scar tissue around the fallopian tubes or ovaries.
-Endo Stage IV Endometriosis: Lots of implants, large ovarian cysts, scar tissue between the uterus and lower part of the intestines as well as ovaries or fallopian tubes.
If you decide to begin fertility treatment, our team is ready to help you on your journey. Our Reproductive Endocrinologists can help you prepare for the upcoming treatment cycle and our caring staff will walk through every step with you. We always hope for the best outcomes but will be there to cope with any unsuccessful treatments or miscarriages if they occur.
Coping with Endometriosis
Talk about it rather than sweeping your symptoms under the rug. Coming together with other women to talk about women’s health openly is vital, as it removes the stigma of painful periods and unusual symptoms so they can feel supported enough to seek help. March is a good month to share your endometriosis experiences with others, if you are ready. You can also connect with endometriosis communities and advocates on Twitter or Instagram:
Our Utah Fertility Center specialists and team look forward to assisting you on your fertility journey with IVF. We invite you to call us at one of our locations nearest you. Let’s work together to make progress in your fertility journey while you are dealing with endometriosis.