Endometriosis and infertility are often related, but treating this pelvic inflammatory disorder can improve your chances of pregnancy. Here’s a description of what causes endometriosis, the symptoms of endometriosis, and what to do if you suspect you have this pelvic disorder.
According to Harvard Medical School, endometriosis is responsible for many cases of infertility, there has been some disagreement about how badly mild cases might affect fertility. The bottom line, however, is that most fertility and reproductive specialists believe that all degrees of endometriosis have the capability of negatively affecting fertility.
To stop endometriosis from negatively affecting your fertility levels, read What to Do When the Doctor Says It’s Endometriosis: Everything You Need to Know to Stop the Pain and Heal Your Fertility.
And, here’s a definition of endometriosis, plus steps to seeking treatment for infertility.
Endometriosis and Infertility
What causes endometriosis?
Endometriosis occurs when tissue migrates from the uterus and implants itself in the pelvic cavity, where it shouldn’t be. “This tissue frequently can be found growing on the ovaries, the tubes, the bladder, the bowel, the outside of the uterus – almost anywhere, in fact,” write the authors in Six Steps to Increased Fertility. “No matter where it implants, endometrial tissue often remains under the influence of a woman’s monthly hormonal cycle and sheds cells and blood at the end of the cycle. The presence of such misplaced tissue can result in chronic inflammation and the development of scar tissue.”
Signs and symptoms of endometriosis
Menstrual discomfort, painful intercourse, backaches, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, and painful premenstrual symptoms (PMS) can be signs of endometriosis.
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine has divided endometriosis into four stages. Stages I and II are minimal and mild cases, and the affected tissue can be as small as a pinhead or a pea! Stages III and IV are moderate and severe cases of endometriosis, and include women with major pelvic adhesions that injure the ovaries and distort the fallopian tubes.
Endometriosis and infertility
“Because even one bit of tissue will incite inflammation throughout the pelvic area, even mild endometriosis may be associated with infertility,” write these doctors in Six Steps to Increased Fertility. “A chronic disease that can last until menopause, endometriosis is most often diagnosed when a woman is in her twenties or thirties as part of an infertility workup, or because she’s experiencing pelvic pain.”
The bad news is that many fertility doctors don’t think surgery for mild forms of endometriosis will improve the chances of getting pregnant. But, the good news is that the authors of Six Steps to Increased Fertility say that several recent studies have shown that surgical treatment of this pelvic inflammatory disorder do improve a woman’s chances of conceiving.
Recent research shows that treating endometriosis with surgery or ovulation-stimulating hormones can improve fertility and the chances of pregnancy.
If you have endometriosis – or if you think endometriosis is stopping you from getting pregnant – you need to talk to your doctor.