Endometriosis and Infertility

What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a condition wherein Endometrium tissues line not only the inside of the uterus but also the outside of the uterus, the ovary, the fallopian tubes and even the intestines. During menstruation, the body sheds the endometrium lining your uterus, and its growth in areas other than inside your uterus causes irritation of the organs and causes pain.

Who are affected by this condition?

An estimated 30% to 40% of women who suffer from endometriosis are infertile and may not be able to have children. Although the relation of endometriosis and infertility has not yet been thoroughly established, endometriosis cases are more common in infertile women rather than those who are fertile. The reasons being pointed out for the correlation is the presence of masses of tissues and scarring within the pelvis, directly distorting the fallopian tubes, which are necessary for the carrying of ovulated eggs.

Endometriosis causes the anatomic distortion of organs due to pelvic adhesions and other hormonal factors. The increase in hormonal production because of endometriosis affects the ovulation process, fertilization and implantation of the egg and embryo.

Do I have endometriosis?
Spotting endometriosis is difficult without thorough medical assessment. More often than not, women with endometriosis do not experience uncommon symptoms that may help conclude in diagnosing the condition. Among the symptoms exhibited by patients with endometriosis are pelvic and abdominal cramps during menstruation, irregular menstruation and pain during and after sexual intercourse.

One suffering from endometriosis may also experience lower back pain, diarrhea or constipation, and heavy bleeding. These symptoms may be felt and can characterize by normal women without endometriosis or by those suffering from other conditions. Endometriosis can only be confirmed if one undergoes laparoscopy.

Laparoscopy is an out-patient procedure that is necessary to confirm the condition and classify the endometriosis as minimal or extensive, based on the amount of scarring present in the tissues.

Does Endometriosis cause infertility?

Generally, endometriosis affects about 3% to 18% of the women population and is diagnosed in women aging from 25 to 35 years old and is most common in infertile women. What causes endometriosis is still yet to be established, but a theory has it that the endometrial tissues deposited in unlikely areas cause the backflow of menstruation onto the fallopian tubes and abdominal cavity.  This backflow causes scarring of tissues that we have pointed out to play a role in infertility. Blockages by these implants in the fallopian tubes caused by endometriosis will prevent the completion of the ovulation cycle and will minimize the chances of the uterus to properly accommodate the embryo upon conception.

In some rare cases, transfer of endometrial tissues via blood stream, which is caused by surgeries like Cesarean section and causes endometriosis, also affect fertility of a woman by abrasions and scarring caused by these tissues onto the pelvic and uterine walls.

The hormonal changes catapulted by the condition and the growth of multiple cysts or poly-cysts, which in turn causes decrease in fertility.

Endometriosis is usually treated by medications and surgery. In severe cases of endometriosis, surgery is out rightly suggested to increase your chances in getting pregnant. Although your doctor could not give you specific statistics as to how much the chances are to increase nor could he give you an assurance of pregnancy, the surgery will certainly help the endometria go away. With the lessening of endometriosis, hormonal levels are slowly stabilized and restored to normal levels, which will directly contribute to an increase in fertility.

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