How Does Endometriosis Affect Fertility?
Endometriosis, a reproductive disorder, specifically affects women. Women with endometriosis have tissue that would normally line the inside of their uterus, but instead lines the outside of the uterus. Because symptoms of the condition are similar to those of severe PMS, many women (and their providers) may not be aware that endometriosis is present.
Typical symptoms of endometriosis include very painful menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea), abnormal or heavy menstrual bleeding and/or painful intercourse (dyspareunia). Since many women believe they simply suffer from severe PMS, it is common for those with endometriosis not to discuss their symptoms with their doctor or for doctors to assume that PMS alone is to blame.
Is endometriosis common?
Endometriosis is actually a very common reproductive condition – over five million American women have endometriosis. For a majority of endometriosis sufferers, a diagnosis may be even more difficult to come by since their only symptom may be infertility, which is only discovered after unsuccessful attempts to conceive without assisted reproductive care.
How does endometriosis affect fertility?
For up to 50% of women with endometriosis, the condition can result in an infertility diagnosis. Because of the presence of the outer uterine tissue, infertility can occur due to a few different factors, including pelvic inflammation, scarring and adhesions from tissue, impaired implantation of an egg, lowered egg quality and/or distorted pelvic anatomy. One or more of these factors can affect a woman’s ability to conceive.
Can endometriosis be treated? Can I get pregnant with endometriosis?
Unfortunately, endometriosis cannot be completely prevented, but there are treatment options available for women who wish to conceive. The first option is to have your hormone levels monitored via medication (typically birth control) that will lower and block estrogen (a hormone) which encourages endometriosis growth. The second option is to combine medication with the surgical removal of any tissue/adhesions that are causing infertility – fallopian tube blockage or otherwise. Your doctor will help determine what kind of treatment plan best fits your individual situation.
To learn more about fertility treatment for women with endometriosis, please contact the fertility specialists at Chelsea Fertility NYC.