March is Endometriosis Awareness Month and this condition affects up to 10% of reproductive-aged women. According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), endometriosis is a condition where tissue from the uterus is found outside the uterus. These endometrial tissues grow and bleed just as the uterine lining does each month but this tissue outside the uterus has nowhere to go—it does not just shed from your body like your uterine lining does. This can cause scar tissue, irritation, and pain.
Many women who suffer struggle with being diagnosed so they can receive treatment.
If you suffer from endometriosis, it may be more challenging for you to become pregnant. Up to 50% of women with endometriosis may experience infertility. Endometriosis can effect fertility in several ways: diminished ovarian reserve, scarred fallopian tubes, inflammation of the pelvic structures, altered egg quality, and more. This doesn’t mean pregnancy isn’t possible though. Egg freezing and IVF are great options for women suffering.
Symptoms can vary from person to person; however, many women have reported experiencing:
- Pelvic/back/leg pain between and during periods
- Painful sex
- Irregular periods
- Bladder frequency and/or pain when urinating
- Painful bowel movements
- Digestive problems including IBS
- Chronic fatigue
- Immune related disorders such as allergies
Endometriosis can’t be confirmed through symptoms or simple tests, so it is frequently misdiagnosed. The most effective way to diagnose the endometriosis is through a laparoscopy. A laparoscopy is a procedure where incisions are made in the lower abdomen area, which is then inflated with gas so a small camera can be in inserted.
Endometriosis is still relatively misunderstood and under researched. Unfortunately, there is no current cure – the most common treatment is surgery and hormonal medication. If endometriosis is found during a laparoscopy, doctors will remove or destroy the affected areas.
Hormone treatment can be used to stop menstruation and as a result slow down the growth of endometriosis.
Other treatment includes pain killers and anti-inflammatories.
To learn more about endometriosis and your fertility, contact us today!