Endometriosis is a common condition that affects about one in every 10 women. And while it does increase the odds of infertility, rest assured that you can get pregnant if you have endometriosis. In fact, a significant amount of women with endometriosis are able to conceive without any fertility treatments, and the majority of women with infertility related to the endometriosis are able to get pregnant with the help of fertility specialists.
What Is Endometriosis?
How can you can you tell the difference between having normal but painful periods with bad cramping and endometriosis?
Endometriosis a disease or syndrome where tissue from inside of the uterus is found outside of the uterus. The uterine lining (endometrium) is sometimes found covering organs in the pelvis and abdominal wall including the bladder, intestines, bowel, fallopian tubes, ovaries or exterior of the uterus.
Each month when a woman with endometriosis gets her period, the endometrium outside of the uterus may bleed just like the normal tissue located inside of the uterus, and this may lead to the development of scar tissue. image
There is an association of endometriosis with infertility. As scar tissue damages the anatomy, the interaction between ovary and egg and tube is adversely affected. Endometriosis may start with abnormal endometrial lining or a maladaptive immune system, both of which may lead to the development of endometriosis.
Fertility Doctor Tina Koopersmith
How Endometriosis Affects Fertility
The endometrium outside the uterus behaves like the endometrium within it. In other words, it sheds and bleeds when a woman has her period. The blood and shed endometrium often don’t have a place to go and can cause a variety of symptoms.
Symptoms of endometriosis may include:
- Pain before, during or after menstruation
- Pain or discomfort during or after intercourse
- Pain during urination and bowel movements
- Ongoing pain in the pelvis and lower back
- Cramps, nausea, diarrhea or constipation
Endometriosis and Fertility
If you experience extreme pain that lasts for more than two days, keeps you from doing normal activities like going to school or work, and/or if it continues even after your period ends, talk with your physician. Levels of pain are not correlated with extent of disease, but the severity of endometriosis is associated with infertility. The sooner we can diagnosis the disease, the sooner we can help you feel better, have less pain and get informed about the realities of endometriosis and pregnancy.
On the other hand, some women with endometriosis have no symptoms at all, and the disease is discovered when we are doing a thorough examination of probable causes of a woman’s infertility.
A susceptibility to endometriosis does run in some families, and the condition is more common in women who have never had children. Menstrual periods that last longer than a week also increase the risk of developing endometriosis, as do short menstrual cycles that are under 27 days long. Conditions that block the flow of menstrual blood from the body can also increase the chances of developing endometriosis.
Endometriosis is most common in women who:
- Are in their 30s and 40s
- Have not had children
- Have periods that last longer than 7 days
- Have menstrual cycles shorter than 28 days
- Started their period before age 12
- Have a family history of endometriosis
It is extremely important to tell us about the pain you are experiencing so that we can immediately help alleviate your discomfort by developing a customized treatment plan for you. Treatment options include having surgical laser, cautery or removal. Lupron can be used to treat this type of pain (although this drug may affect conception so we do not recommend it for patients who want to get pregnant). And if you are trying to conceive, we can help you with fertility treatments that have excellent results for women with endometriosis, including IVF.
How Is Endometriosis Diagnosed?
Endometriosis is difficult to diagnose since its symptoms resemble those of other disorders. The doctor may order an ultrasound or pelvic exam to rule out such disorders.
Minimally-invasive laparoscopic surgery, however, is the only way to actually find the abnormal endometrium. This can be used to determine whether or not the patient requires endometriosis infertility treatment.
What Is The Treatment For Endometriosis?
First, it’s essential to get an accurate diagnosis by a physician with extensive experience in endometriosis. There are several different medical conditions that can cause similar symptoms as endometriosis. The diagnostic tests will also be able to help determine the severity of your condition, which will help your physician choose the right treatment option. Mild cases of the disease can be treated with pain and hormone medications.
If medication does not work, surgery may be required. The goal of the surgery is to remove all of the displaced endometrium tissue from your pelvic organs. Once the tissues are no longer in the wrong location, your symptoms will go away.
Together We’ll Find A Way
If you’re experiencing pain, please let us know – we are here to listen to you and would never tell you that extreme period pain is “normal.” We are fertility specialists that are very experienced when it comes to treating endometriosis and infertility. Research and technology are ever evolving, and we are up on the latest treatments to both alleviate your pain related to endometriosis and also help you conceive if the disease compromises your ability to get pregnant.
We look forward to meeting you, learning about you, and helping you to be healthy and happy. To schedule an appointment you can call the West Coast Women’s Reproductive Center at (818) 616-9277 or make an appointment online.