I Have Endometriosis. Should I Be Worried about My Fertility?
Thanks to an increase in overall awareness and celebrity education, endometriosis isn’t nearly as mysterious as it was just a few years ago. This growth in awareness is fortunate: the condition is surprisingly common and many women are entirely unaware for years that they suffer from it. However, as a society, we are nowhere near where we should be in terms of understanding how difficult the condition can be, including how it can affect future family planning goals.
Endometriosis symptoms, infertility and more
Many women who have endometriosis have no idea that their symptoms are a real condition, not just a heavy period. The list of symptoms is long: it includes lower back and abdominal pain, painful intercourse, painful bowel movements, heavy menstrual bleeding, spotting, irregular menstruation, cramping, bloating, nausea, and constipation.
One of the more unknown symptoms is infertility. In fact, many women only become aware that their painful, disruptive periods are a real medical condition when they struggle to conceive.
Women with endometriosis may struggle to conceive because the disorder causes uterine tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus to grow outside it. This extra tissue contributes to infertility by causing adhesions, scarring, and pelvic inflammation. Endometriosis also causes distorted pelvic anatomy, lowers egg quality, and impairs egg implantation. All these symptoms can make natural conception more difficult or not possible without the help of assisted reproductive care.
Endometriosis cannot be prevented, but there are treatment options for women who wish to conceive or whose daily lives are negatively affected by their symptoms. Treatment typically includes prescribing a birth control pill to adjust hormone levels and combat further endometriosis growth. For some women, surgical options will be necessary to remove the adhesions and tissue that contribute to infertility. Patients who believe their symptoms match the symptoms of endometriosis are encouraged to reach out to their gynecologist to discuss concerns and determine the need for endometriosis screening, which involves a pelvic exam, ultrasound or laparoscopy.
Washington Fertility Center works with endometriosis patients who desire to build their families. If you have been diagnosed with endometriosis and are seeking reproductive care, please contact our office today.