Endometriosis is a condition in which the lining of the uterus or endometrium grows outside the uterus. It is a common condition that affects roughly ten percent of women of reproductive age, and it affects even more women who are in their 30s or 40s. In endometriosis, the tissue frequently grows on the ovaries, Fallopian tubes, and the uterus’ exterior. It can also grow on the rectum, vagina, cervix, bowel, or vulva. While endometriosis does not always cause infertility, below is more information about it, as well as the benefits of endometriosis infertility treatment.
What Are the Symptoms?
The endometrium outside the uterus behaves like the endometrium within it. In other words, it sheds and bleeds when the patient has her period. The blood and shed endometrium often don’t have a place to go and can thus cause the following symptoms:
• Painful menstrual cramps
• Pain during sex
• Problems within the digestive tract like nausea, diarrhea, or bloating
• Intestinal pain
• Bleeding between periods
How Does a Doctor Diagnose Endometriosis?
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 Are the Risk Factors?
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 Infertility Treatment
There are several ways to treat endometriosis, and the doctor will choose one based on the patient’s age, health, and whether or not she wants to get pregnant. Some of the treatments relieve the pain without restoring the patient’s fertility.
For example, the doctor can prescribe hormonal birth control pills that can slow the growth of the tissue and relieve mild symptoms. They won’t, however, enable the patient to get pregnant.
If the patient does want a child, the doctor may prescribe a hormone that releases gonadotropin. It works by inducing temporary menopause and thus stops the body from releasing the hormones that govern the menstrual cycle. Stopping the menstrual cycle stops the endometrium from growing. When the doctor is satisfied that the patient’s condition is under control, they will take the patient off the medication.
To learn more about this condition and the endometriosis infertility treatment options available at West Coast Women’s Reproductive Center, feel free to visit us in Sherman Oaks. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!