Have you been trying to conceive for quite some time but it has not happened? There are multiple issues that can cause infertility but endometriosis is on the top of the list to consider. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine says that 30 to 50 percent of all infertile women have dealt with some degree of endometriosis.
What is endometriosis?
We have tissue that normally outlines the inside of our uterus. When you have endometriosis, the tissue begins to grow on the outside of the uterus and can travel to other parts of the body including ovaries, tubes and has even been seen on bladders and kidneys.
Why is that a problem? When the tissue touches these various organs, it can irritate them and create a great deal of pain.
There are four different levels of endometriosis that doctors label to indicate the severity of your endometriosis. Stage 1 is minimal, stage 2 is mild, stage 3 is moderate and stage 4 is severe.
How can it cause me to be infertile?
When one thing is “off”, it can cause conception to be very difficult or to not occur at all. When a woman has endometriosis, it can alter the anatomy of the pelvis, cause severe scarring and adhesions to the fallopian tubes and even affect the quality of your eggs. Stage 4 (severe) endometriosis usually completely blocks your fallopian tubes which can mean pregnancy is virtually impossible until further action is taken to remove the endometriosis.
What are symptoms of endometriosis?
- Heavy Bleeding
- Irregular periods
- Painful Intercourse
- Painful bowel movements
There can be other symptoms as well for severe endometriosis including leg pain, nausea, back pain and even depression.
How can my endometriosis be treated?
The only way to truly know if you have endometriosis is through a surgery called laparoscopy, which is generally an outpatient surgery. From this, the doctor can tell how severe it is and remove it most of the time. Many times fertility is improved after this surgery providing that the endometriosis was the main cause of the problem.
Endometriosis needs estrogen to grow. Therefore, birth control pills that help lower estrogen and other medications are the main treatments for the pain caused by endometriosis.
If any of these symptoms describe how you have been feeling or perhaps achieving pregnancy has been difficult, please contact infertility physicians at Gainesville’s All About Women Obstetrics and Gynecology.
We will be happy to schedule an endometrial screening and consultation. Many times through the combination of surgery and other medical therapy, pregnancy can be achieved.