A big concern when you are diagnosed with endometriosis is how the condition might affect your chances of pregnancy and childbirth. When you have endometriosis, it is possible to conceive naturally, but a significant number of women diagnosed struggle with infertility. It is still unclear why some women with endometriosis struggle with infertility and others do not.
When pieces of tissues of the inner lining of the uterus (endometrium) grow on other organs, it is called endometriosis. When you have endometriosis the endometrial tissue may grow on your ovaries, bowels, bladder, fallopian tubes, and the lining of your abdomen. The cells grow and shrink several times in coincidence with your menstrual cycle and may later form scar tissue.
Endometriosis causes physical, emotional, and psychological pain. It can also cause infertility, but the good news is that there is treatment. You may have endometriosis and not be aware. But for others, the extra endometrial cells can cause discomfort.
Women of childbearing age are the most affected by endometriosis which tends to run in families. About 15 percent of all women of reproductive age and 7 in 10 women with chronic pelvic pain have endometriosis. Also, about 3 in 10 women with endometriosis have fertility problems. While many women have no symptoms, the condition is linked to infertility.
It is true that you are more likely to have endometriosis if your mother or sister had it. Menstrual pain that disrupts your normal activities, as well as other worrisome symptoms, should make you visit your doctor. Symptoms can vary, some women may not have any symptoms, while others have severe pain. The most common symptoms include painful, heavy or irregular periods, pain in the lower abdomen, pelvis, or lower back during ovulation, pelvic pain during or after sex, difficulty getting pregnant, painful bowel movements, and emptying of the bladder.
You may not realize you have endometriosis until you experience difficulty with pregnancy. With the symptoms similar to a range of other conditions, an abdominal and pelvic examination is helpful.
Severe and persistent symptoms may require you to get a referral for a transvaginal ultrasound scan. Laparoscopy gives information about the location, extent, and size of the endometrial tissue.
If you suspect that you have endometriosis, consult with your doctor for advice and screening. Early diagnosis is essential to manage the symptoms and give you a good lease on life. If you have been diagnosed with endometriosis and have trouble conceiving, see a fertility specialist to discuss treatment options.
Endometriosis is diagnosed as stage one to four or from minimal to severe. If you are hoping to be pregnant, the removal of endometrial tissue could improve your chances. In moderate or severe endometriosis, scarring of the ovaries may interfere with ovulation and may damage or block the fallopian tubes so that fertilization cannot take
place. Implantation of the embryo in the uterus may also be impeded due to chemicals released by the abnormally situated tissues of endometrium. These chemicals may also account for why women with mild endometriosis may suffer from infertility as they may affect fertilization and early embryo development.
There are options to help you manage pain, including pain medications, hormone treatment, and different types of surgery, and it tends to get better with menopause. Regular exercise, nutritious food, getting enough sleep, and reducing stress can help you manage the symptoms.
Although endometriosis can affect your fertility, not every case leads to infertility. About 70% of women with mild to moderate endometriosis will get pregnant without treatment. The link between infertility and endometriosis is unclear but there is an established link between the severity of the condition and the location of the tissue. But natural conception is possible even with severe endometriosis.
There is no cure for endometriosis. Though infertility from endometriosis is treatable, you need to be referred to a fertility specialist.